Yes, a quote from Shakespeare to start the week. (for you Hamlet fans, I know the quote is really about death, but it made for a catchy title)
Let’s talk about sleep. We never seem to get enough but do we really know how much we need? Conventional wisdom says we need 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Thankfully, studies are being done that shows this is most likely not be the case. Sleep is one of the richest topics in science today: why we need it, why it can be hard to get, and how that affects everything from our athletic performance to our income.
Research shows that people who sleep between 6.5 hr. and 7.5 hours per night live the longest. It also shows that people who sleep 8 or more or less than 6.5 hours they don’t live quite as long. There is just as much risk associated with sleeping too long as with sleeping too short. Sleeping 8.5 hr. might really be a little worse than sleeping 5 hr.
A famous sleep doctor says he likes to publicize these facts because he can prevent a lot of insomnia and distress just by telling people that short sleep is O.K. We’ve all been told you need to sleep 8 hours but there was never any evidence. A very common problem he sees at sleep clinics is people who spend too long in bed. They think they should sleep 8 or 9 hr., so they spend [that amount of time] in bed, with the result that they have trouble falling asleep and wake up a lot during the night. Oddly enough, a lot of the problem [of insomnia] is lying in bed awake, worrying about it.
Whew- I have been trying to get 8-9 hours of sleep because I have always been told that’s what a person needs to be healthy. How many of you lay there looking at the clock and saying “If I fall asleep right now I will get X hours of sleep.” When this happens to me I feel tired and cranky the next day because I didn’t sleep enough. Well, now that I know that 6.5 to 7.5 is enough, will I feel less tired? I certainly hope so!
“If you can’t sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there worrying. It’s the worry that gets you, not the lack of sleep.” ~Dale Carnegie