So how much sleep do you really need?
Well in truth there is no right or wrong answer. The average seven and a half to eight hours is a good benchmark for most people to aim for, but some people require more sleep than others. By the same token some need less. The determination for how much sleep you require is affected by a number of important factors, such as your age, gender and whether or not you are currently sleep deprived.
Getting enough sleep every night is vitally important to your health and well being. The best way to “heal” after a heavy/ intense training session (after eating) is by having a good amount of sleep. Just having one night of sleeplessness can & will distort your appetite, your mood and your ability to handle stress (how many times have you snapped at some one after a short amount of sleep!?!) Chronic sleep deprivation increases your risk of high blood pressure, obesity and edema. Over time sleep can even affect your chances of developing heart disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes, so make sure you get adequate amounts of it.
If you use an alarm clock to get you up in the morning, then that is a telltale sign that you are not getting enough sleep. The fact that you rely on an alarm clock to wake you up every day shows that your body is not rested enough to wake naturally. If you own a dog, you’ll know that they will ‘try’ and wake you at the same time no matter whether it is a weekend or weekday, they have no need for an alarm clock.
A simple test you can use to determine if you`re getting enough sleep is to go to bed fifteen minutes earlier that you normally would. See if you still need an alarm clock to wake up. If you do, try going to bed another fifteen minutes earlier. Continue in this manner until you reach a point where you wake up naturally in the morning without an alarm clock. That`s how many hours of sleep you need each night.
Remember that your sleep requirements will change over time and that they may need to be reassessed occasionally. Many of us need more sleep in times of stress, illness or even just during the wintertime when daylight hours are shorter.
These days it`s all too easy to let day to day living get in the way of a good night of rest. Well that and pulling a COD all-nighter never help! By learning to prioritise your task well aid you in situations when you realise that you haven`t been getting enough rest. If getting enough sleep is especially difficult for you, try to pick a certain number of days each week when you will commit to prioritizing sleep. Your diet can also have a huge effect on sleeping patterns.
Remember that caffeine, illicit drugs, alcohol and sugar can all affect your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. In the evenings, try and steer away from excessive alcohol, social drugs and high carbohydrate content foods, aim for protein rich substitutes (e.g. boiled egg, warm milk, nuts).