We are all encouraged from a young age to ensure we are getting enough shut-eye every night. But what exactly is “enough” and what are the potential impacts of ignoring these recommendations? There are so many components that affect sleep; this blog post could be filled ten times over! So here are just a few of the key things that we currently know.

How much sleep do we need?

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society generally advocate for around 7 hours of sleep per night for regular, healthy adults (Watson et al., 2015). Slightly more sleep may be required for children and younger people, or for the ill. For a healthy adult over 9 hours of sleep may be detrimental. If you feel you need it however, you may be experiencing an underlying health condition.

The impact of poor sleep

Duration of sleep is not the be-all and end-all. A review of the impacts on school performance found that quality of sleep is more important than quantity (Dewald et al., 2010). Additionally, sleepiness had the greatest effect on school performance. Essentially, each individual has slightly different sleep needs and it is important to awaken feeling well-rested and refreshed.

Interestingly, less sleep has been correlated with obesity and this finding has been consistent across the world for both children and adults (Cappucio et al., 2008). Having healthy sleep habits is also associated with personality factors such as higher conscientiousness and lower neuroticism (Dugga et al., 2014).The relationship between sleep and personality is still being explored – interesting though?!

Nighttime routines

When trying to get quality sleep, one of the best things you can do is establish good sleep habits – otherwise known as sleep “hygiene”. The Better Sleep Council recently published a short blog post which is great if you’re interested in the impact of screen time before bed – one of the main detriments to good sleep. It explains that exposure to the blue light of phones and other devices disrupts our internal clocks which tells our bodies when to sleep. So switch off and sleep well! Other easy ways to improve your sleep hygiene is to avoid stimulants such as caffeine late in the day and try to establish your own unique, calming nighttime routine (such as herbal tea and reading).

If you have tried some of the Better Sleep Council’s tips but you still awaken feeling lethargic or run-down, please consult your general practitioner for more specific advice.

If you’d like to discuss other ways that you can live and sleep well, you can come chat to us at our clinic at 24 Oxford Street, Bulimba. Pop in or book an appointment here.

Reference List

Cappucio, F. P., Taggart, F. M., Kandala, N., Currie, A., Peile, E., Stranges, S.,  & Miller, M. A. (2008). Meta-analysis of short sleep duration and obesity in children and adults. Sleep 31 (5), 619 – 626. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2398753/

Dewald, J. F., Meijer, A. M., Oort, F. J., Kerkhof, G. A., Bogels, S. M. (2010). The influence of sleep quality, sleep duration and sleepiness on school performance in children and adolescents: A meta-analytic review. Sleep Medicine Reviews 14, 179-189. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2009.10.004

Dugga, K. A., Friedman, H. S., McDevitt, E. A., & Mednick, S. C. (2014). Personality and healthy sleep: The importance of conscientiousness and neuroticism. PLoS One, 9 (3), 1-12. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0090628

The Better Sleep Council (2019, February 19). The negative effects of using LED and blue light at night. Retrieved from https://bettersleep.org/blog/the-negative-effects-of-using-led-and-blue-lights-at-night/

Watson, N. F., Badr, M. S., Belenky, G., Bilwise, D. L., Buxton, O. M. Buysse, D., … Heald, J. L. (2015). Recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult: a joint consensus statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society. Sleep 38 (6), 843 – 844. doi: 10.5665/sleep.4716