Are You Wasting Your Life?: How Many Hours of Sleep We Really Need

How many hours of sleep do I actually need a night?

It’s a question people have been wondering forever. The truth is, it depends. There is no one amount that is ideal for everyone per night. People are different, so it makes sense that the amount of sleep each person needs at night will vary. However, most scientists agree that you should get no less than eight hours total. So if you miss an hour or so at night, this must be made up in the form of naps.

If you can get seven hours of sleep a night and have the luxury of an afternoon nap, then go for it. But if you know you will be unable to nap, aim for the full eight hours at night.

Sleeping may feel like a waste of time, but if you don’t get the right amount of sleep, your time spent awake will be a waste too. You will have less energy to do what you love when awake, and chances are you’ll be too grumpy to enjoy being awake anyways. According to Popsci, your cognitive performance suffers when you have a lack of sleep.  Many people think they can function on seven hours of sleep or less. Popsci explains that the problem is most people don’t realize they’re sleep deprived. If you missed a few hours of sleep last night, you may not realize how it is impairing your work today.

The reason many people claim they do not get the recommended eight hours a night is that they are too busy and don’t have time. To this, Matthew Walker, the director of the sleep and neuroimaging lab at the University of California, Berkeley, says, “The reason you are left with so much to do could likely be because you are only getting five hours of sleep and your cognitive functioning is deficient, so it’s taking you forever to do everything.”

So are you wasting your life by sleeping? Sort of, but your life will be wasted even more if you don’t get the recommended eight hours. Your cognitive functioning will be impaired, and you will end up wasting the time you are awake since you won’t be fully alert.

It is important to be fully functioning and alert when awake. You need to know what’s going on and be able to appropriately react. This can only happen if you get your eight hours. 

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