Even today, scientists and doctors still debate about why we actually sleep. Over the years and through many scientific studies and experiments we have learned quite a lot about sleep and how it affects us. One very interesting fact is that the average human-being sleeps a full twenty-four years of their entire life, so it must be important. This sounds like a large percentage of our lives but there are very significant negative effects of not getting enough sleep, as well as for getting too much sleep. So whether you are young or old sleep is critical for all of us. Bed barriers for adults who need a little extra help getting out of bed in the morning are very helpful, while for people that are younger a loud alarm clock will do the trick. Sleep can profoundly affect your psyche. It can also boost or impair your daily activities on a day to day basis. Most people can control how much sleep they get by setting alarms and keeping to a schedule and routine but there are disorders such as insomnia which can require medical attention.
How Much Sleep Do We Need?
The average human adult requires seven to eight hours of sleep each day or seven to eight hours per twenty-four hour time window. Regardless of whether a person’s schedule has them sleeping during the night or during the day, they still need seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. Getting less sleep than that will have negative consequences on you physically and mentally the next day. If a person consistently gets six hours or less each night over a long period of time the consequences increase exponentially. After just two weeks of six hours or less of sleep per night a person’s brain is effectively functioning the same as a person whose blood alcohol level is 0.1 percent and their emotional capacity is greatly diminished. As time continues, if a person continuously gets less than seven hours of sleep per night over a long period of time such as a year or more, they are very likely to have an increased chance of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Getting too little sleep will also cause problems mentally, it will cause increased irritability, difficulty learning and retaining information, and it will diminish a person’s ability to recall memories. They will also have an increased chance of early or premature mortality by about twelve percent.
Is There Such Thing as Too Much Sleep?
On the other side of the coin, people that sleep more than eight hours each night or twenty-four hour time period also face serious negative consequences. Similar to the people who sleep six hour or less each night, people who regularly sleep eight hours or more each night are also at an increased risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. However, unlike those who sleep less than six hours nightly, people that sleep at least eight hours or more per night appear not to have their day to day activities impaired or suffer from any emotional or mental impairment. One last major difference between those who sleep less than six hours regularly and people that sleep more than eight hours consistently is that people who sleep more than eight hours nightly have a thirty percent increase chance of premature death.
Now that we have looked at the consequences for getting too little sleep and for getting too much sleep it is clear that the average adult needs seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Getting too little sleep can have serious negative consequences, while getting too much sleep can also have equally negative consequences. For human adults to function without any cognitive, physical, or emotional impairment we all need to try to get between seven and eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. This will help to avoid any increased chance of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, or premature mortality caused by too much sleep or lack of sleep. Even though the debate about why humans sleep and what exactly happens while we sleep continues, we know enough about the consequences of sleeping too much or not enough to understand the getting the right amount of sleep is essential for us to live productive and happy lives.