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Sleep is an essential part of life that enables us to function at our best, but how much sleep is enough?
The amount of sleep we need varies from person to person. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults aged 18-64 get 7-9 hours of sleep each night, while those over 65 should aim for 7-8 hours. However, the optimal amount of sleep for any individual may differ from these recommendations based on their age and lifestyle factors.
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For example, athletes often require more sleep than average in order to maintain peak performance levels. In a study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine, it was found that elite athletes typically slept 8-10 hours each night compared with the general population who usually got 6-7 hours of sleep on average.
Similarly, shift workers may also need more or less than the recommended amount depending on their work schedule and other lifestyle factors. Research suggests that shift workers tend to have shorter and poorer quality sleep when compared with people who keep regular working hours; this can lead to an increased risk of health issues such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
In contrast, some people naturally require less sleep due to genetic differences. A study conducted by researchers at the University of California Berkeley found that around 3% of adults are able to function well after sleeping only 5-6 hours per night due to a gene variant known as DEC2 which allows them to be more resilient against fatigue and sleepyness during the day.
The key takeaway here is that ‘enough’ sleep can vary from person to person depending on individual needs and lifestyle factors such as work schedules or physical activity levels. Generally speaking though, most adults should aim for 7-9 hours per night if they want to stay healthy and alert throughout the day.
If you’re struggling with getting enough restful sleep regularly then there are a few things you can do: establish a regular bedtime routine; avoid caffeine late in the day; limit screen time before bed; exercise regularly (but not too close to bedtime); try relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga; ensure your bedroom is comfortable and quiet; limit naps during the day; avoid eating big meals late at night; and talk to your doctor if you think you might have a medical condition affecting your ability to get good quality restorative rest at night such as insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Ultimately however it comes down understanding what works best for you personally – everyone has different needs so take some time experimenting with different strategies until you find something that works for you!