Harmonize Fitness
Harmonize Fitness

How many hours of sleep do we really need?

05 how many hours of sleep

We´ve all heard that we need 7 – 8 hours of sleep every night but, is this really true?

For some of us it´s hard to get 8 hours of sleep every night for many different reasons specially our busy schedule but not being able to get enough sleep impact our performance. It affects our physical and mental health making our productive lower.

Being very busy takes sleep to the last number of our priorities is the first thing we sacrifice and the one that has a negative impact in our day and health. Our lifestyle impacts directly the quality of our sleep, we´ve been talking about stress and how it affects negatively but also watching tv late night, using the computer, exposure to bright light before you go to bed make it harder to fall asleep.

The total hours of sleep will vary depending of your age and daily activities, the younger you are the more hours you need but what I consider to be more important is the quality of those hours, if you sleep 8 hours but those 8 hours are not good quality then you need to improve the quality. The way to know if you are resting or not is by how you feel when you wake up and throughout the day, if you wake up and don´t feel rested, you feel tired and it´s hard for you to stay focus on the task at hand or you have cravings specially for sweets this means you´re not getting good sleep. If you sleep 6 hours but you feel great in the morning and you feel energized through the day then those 6 hours are good quality.

If you are very active during the day, you have a lot of work, you do exercise, you need to make important decisions you need more hours of good sleep compare to someone who has a 9 to 5 job and spend most of the day sitting.

If you have a busy schedule every day having around 5 to 6 hours of good quality sleep every night may be all you need to perform at peak but it will depend of you. You may need more and the only way to know it is by how you feel, if you wake feeling great, with a lot of energy and you´re focused and ready to hit the day then you get good quality, from there pay attention to how long those this last, those this high energy and productive attitude last all day long? in this case you´re having enough good quality sleep, if you start feeling tired and sleepy in the afternoon then you need more sleep. Do the alarm wake you up? Or do you wake up before the alarm ring? If you wake up before the alarm rings then your body it telling you that it had enough sleep but if you have trouble waking up and you hit the snooze button then you don´t have good quality or it wasn´t enough.

Another factor that is important to consider is at what time do you prefer to sleep, do you prefer or feel better when you go to sleep around 9 or 10 pm and wake up at 5 am? or do you prefer to go to sleep around midnight and wake up at 8 am? This will be impacted by your schedule, by work, school or any other thing you need to do on your day.

Creating a routine where you go to sleep at the same every night and wake up at the same time every morning helps your body set its internal clock to help you sleep better during night and perform better during day. What you do before you got to sleep is highly important to make it good quality, avoiding the use of electronics at least 30 minutes before you go to bed will help you sleep better, don´t use your cell phone, computer, tv, tablet or any other. If you can turn off the lights at least 30 minutes before you go to bed do it, it will help.

Use those 30 minutes to calm and relax using tools like meditation to empty your mind and reduce tension in your body and muscles.

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