Just like a car cannot operate without enough fuel, a human body cannot function without meeting the criteria for the minimum hours of sleep every day. Despite knowing this fact, the first thing that takes a back seat amidst a heavy schedule is our sleep time and the duration of our sleep.
Well, before we proceed further, are you aware of how much sleep do you require at various stages of your life. Where newborns need 14-17 hours of sleep, infants require 12 to 15 hours and teens need a bare minimum of 8 to 10 hours for healthy growth and well-being.
Although the average hours of sleep that you should have is common knowledge for different age groups, that is only an aggregated average. The actual amount of sleep one requires varies from person to person and rests on various underlining factors like age, pregnancy, sleep quality and so on.
Why Is Sleep So Important?
Sleep is fundamental to healthy living. It goes far beyond just resting your body and brain. When you sleep, the body repairs itself as far as possible, as compared to any other time of the day.
Here’s what our body does while we enjoy a restful sleep at night or any other part of the day.
- Rebuilding and repairing work
While catching on the average hours of sleep for our well-being, our body gets down to execute all repair work like the rebuilding of worn-out muscles, removing waste and harmful plaques produced in the brain during the day.
- Processing and responding to memory mode
Sleeping at night tends to put on the memory mode to process, respond and transfer all emotions and experiences which took place during the day.
- Time Regulation
Sleep plays a pivotal part in refurbishing and regulating your internal clock, known as the circadian rhythm which runs on a 24-hour schedule and regulates your time for getting up, going to bed and even performing other activities during the day.
- Sets the right rhythm for a healthy living
A minimum number of hours of sleep, if not fulfilled regularly, would lead to a lack of appetite, weight gain, low immunity and decreasing metabolism and even inflammation. So if you want a healthy life, provide your body with sufficient sleep every day and feel happy and fresh throughout the day.
- Better calorie regulation
Getting a good night’s sleep can help a person consume fewer calories during the day. When a person does not sleep long enough, it can interfere with their body’s ability to regulate food intake correctly.
- Social and emotional intelligence
Sleep has links to people’s emotional and social intelligence. Someone who does not get adequate sleep is more likely to have issues with recognizing other people’s emotions and expressions.
- Better Sleep Promotes Stronger immune system
Sleep helps the body repair, regenerate and recover. The immune system is no exception to this relationship. Some research shows how better sleep quality can help the body fight off infection.
How to Determine the Minimum Sleep Time Required for an Individual
It is very simple to determine the minimum sleep time that you require for healthy and happy living. Just ask yourself these three questions:
- How long do you take to fall asleep after hitting the sheets?
- Do you rely on an alarm clock to wake up every morning?
- How do you feel the whole day after having the minimum number of hours of sleep you have allotted for yourself?
If you take no time to sleep once you hit the bed or if you need an alarm clock to wake up every morning or if you are feeling fatigued, anxious and are having mood swings during the day, all these symptoms denote that you need more sleep and the minimum sleep time that you have set for yourself is not enough for your body to get complete rest.
The best decision is to set a sleep diary and note every detail, which in turn would help you determine how many hours of sleep you require to feel fresh and fit the next day.
To sum up, sleeping at erratic hours and trying to make up for lost slumber is not enough. You have to ensure you get quality sleep at night as it is during this time that your body gets a complete makeover and undergoes a relaxation and rejuvenation program, which in turn prepares you to start the next morning afresh. Since every action has an equal and opposite reaction, not getting enough sleep can have some serious repercussions.
So if you have been careless so far and have been neglecting your minimum sleep time, pledge to make sleep a priority so that you lead a healthy life. Remember, quality sleep can alone give you a quality life. The choice now is yours. Gear up and make sensible lifestyle choices.