Here’s How Much Sleep You Need

Do you sleep enough? Do you know how much sleep you really need?

Most of us don’t sleep enough or know how much sleep we really need, although most of us think we do get enough sleep.

I neglected sleep for way to long in my life and have finally and fortunately realized that getting enough sleep is a necessity, rather than a luxury.

Here’s a graph from my sleep tracking app, SleepCycle, to prove it –

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You’ll see that my average night’s sleep has gone from under 7 hours to just over 7.5 hours and is creeping toward 8 hours.

The graph only tells part of the story. Before I began tracking my sleep in late 2012, I was hovering closer to 6 hours of sleep a night, give or take 30 minutes. That was actually up from the 4-5 hours on average that I had been getting and over time  convinced myself was OK.

Now that I’m finally starting to sleep enough and experience life without sleep deprivation, I’m passionate about helping others do the same. That’s why I’m writing this post, which is the first in a series of sleep-related posts I’ll be sharing with you on Just Rolling with It. Getting enough sleep makes just rolling with it much, much easier and so much better.

So how much do we really sleep in America? The short answer, according to a recent Gallup poll is “not enough”.

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And do we think we sleep enough? The short answer from the same poll is, “of course we do”!

The reality is that the average night’s sleep for an adult in the US is 6.8 hours. This is fewer than the minimum of 7 hours that most credible sources recommend. Even worse, 40% of US adults sleep fewer than 6 hours each night.

If you’re not sleeping enough, you’re –

  • Increasing your risk of obesity and diabetes
  • Weakening your immune system, which can wreak all kinds of havoc on your health
  • Causing chemical changes in your brain that resemble bipolar disorder

So please, start getting the sleep you need, it’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity.

How much sleep do we need? Here are the latest guidelines from the National Sleep Foundation, broken down by age.