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How much Sleep do we really need?

on August 24, 2020

One thing is certain - everybody loves (and needs) sleep. But how much do we actually know about sleep? Getting sufficient sleep is something many find difficult, especially with the fast-paced lifestyle we lead today. Consequently, it is common for people to fixate on sleeping the right number of hours. However, what many fail to realize is that while getting the right quantity of rest is important, the quality of sleep cannot be neglected. Read on to gain a better understanding of the quality and quantity needed for a good rest.

 

Quantity 

Woman Sleeping

The recommended amount of sleep is 6-8 hours per day for adults[1]. It is important to get sufficient rest so that the body can recuperate fully. In our previous article “How a hectic lifestyle affects our health”, we touch on the higher risk of diseases due to a lack of sleep. But beyond just suffering from a weaker immune system, a lack of sleep can also affect our mood and memory.

 

- Mood

Studies have shown that getting insufficient rest for just one night can increase our emotional response to negative feelings by 60%[2]. The study done by the University of Sydney on young adults between ages 17-24 indicated that for every hour of sleep loss, mental and emotional distress increased by 5%[3]. It also suggests a higher likelihood of suffering from depression. This goes to show that getting enough rest is crucial for our mood the following day, and even our mental cum emotional health in the long term.

 

- Memory

While we sleep, our body is getting rid of the harmful plaques and waste that formed in our brain. One of these harmful substances is the amyloid protein[4]. Its build-up in the brain is linked to the eventual onset of Alzheimer’s disease, where people have difficulty remembering things. The body also commits to memory the emotions and encounters that we experienced in the day while we rest[5]. Without sufficient sleep, we might be prone to lapses in memory.

 

Quality 

Woman Sleeping

Quality sleep refers to how soundly we sleep. We have 5 stages of sleep, each one deeper than the other. If our sleep gets disrupted, the body is forced to start all over again, from the first stage[6]. This might prevent us from getting the deep rest that our body needs for restoring muscles and tissues, stimulating growth and building up our immune system[7].

If you keep waking up during the night, one reason could be the height of your pillow. The height of your pillow affects your sleep posture and could cause disruption in your sleep. The recommended height for a pillow is different for different sleeping positions, so it is best to do your research before purchasing a pillow. For instance, the recommended pillow height for side sleepers would be between 5-7 inches. This provides adequate support for the neck, filling up the gap between your neck and shoulders[8]. However, back sleepers are recommended a pillow height of 4-5 inches so that their necks would not be pushed too far forward.

If the cause of your sleep disruption is because of noise or light, the best way is to invest in earplugs or an eye mask. The quality of our sleep should not be neglected, and sleeping longer hours to compensate for a poor night’s rest simply does not work.

 

Conclusion

The quantity and quality of our sleep are equally important. We should do all we can to ensure that we get both so that our body can heal itself to the best of its ability. Getting enough sleep and ensuring that it is undisrupted will go a long way in preventing the onset of diseases.

Feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comment section below. We will be happy to reply as soon as possible!

 

Disclaimer

This blog post is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The views and nutritional advice expressed are not intended for the purpose of providing medical advice. Please always consult your health care provider if you are experiencing any medical conditions. All content on this page has been thoroughly reviewed. Nevertheless, no liability can be accepted for the completeness and accuracy of the information. 

 

References 

[1]        Sleep Advisor Last Updated On June 3. (2020, June 29). How Much Sleep Do We Really Need? Recommended Sleep Times 2020. Retrieved July 29, 2020, from
https://www.sleepadvisor.org/recommended-sleep-times/

[2]        Jones, T. (n.d.). How Many Hours of Sleep Do You Really Need? Retrieved July 29, 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-much-sleep-you-need

[3]        Find Out How Lack of Sleep and Depression are Closely Associated. (2011, May 20). Retrieved July 29, 2020, from https://psychologenie.com/lack-of-sleep-depression

[4]        Are You Suffering from Interrupted Sleep? (2018, August 01). Retrieved July 29, 2020, from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/improving-sleep-quality-what-interrupted-sleep

[5]        Jones, T. (n.d.). How Many Hours of Sleep Do You Really Need? Retrieved July 29, 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-much-sleep-you-need

[6]        Are You Suffering from Interrupted Sleep? (2018, August 01). Retrieved July 30, 2020, from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/improving-sleep-quality-what-interrupted-sleep

[7]        Understanding Sleep Cycles. (2020, July 10). Retrieved July 30, 2020, from
https://www.sleep.org/what-happens-during-sleep/

[8]        Cain, A. (2018, September 06). How to Choose a Pillow Height. Retrieved July 30, 2020, from
https://musesleep.com/blogs/daily-muse/how-to-choose-a-pillow-height