Someone hit the snooze button – because it is World Sleep Day today.
While most of us constantly feel tired, whether hangover related or just down to working too damn hard, you might not need as much sleep as you might think.
That’s because often it’s the quality of your sleep rather than the hours you spend tucked up under the duvet.
How much sleep do you actually need?
Toddlers (1-2 years): Sleep range widened by one hour to 11-14 hours (previously it was 12-14)
Preschoolers (3-5): Sleep range widened by one hour to 10-13 hours (previously it was 11-13)
School age children (6-13): Sleep range widened by one hour to 9-11 hours (previously it was 10-11)
Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range widened by one hour to 8-10 hours (previously it was 8.5-9.5)
Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category)
Adults (26-64): Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours
Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours (new age category)
The National Sleep Foundation (yep) suggests that the amount of sleep you need very much depends on your age.
Most young adults only need between seven and nine hours a night, but can get away with sleeping just six hours.
Teenager meanwhile need at least seven hours in bed, but can happily sleep for 11. School children are recommended to have between nine and 11 hours.
Older adults need five or six hours between the sheets but it is recommended they have between seven and eight.
Babies need a lot more sleep of course, lying in their cots for up to 19 hours a day.
Your sleep health is important
It’s all about getting quality sleep rather than just the hours in bed.
Stimulants like coffee, tea and energy drinks don’t help as they can interfere with people’s ‘circadian rhythm’, which is your natural sleep cycle.
The same is true for alarm clocks and poor lighting.
If you don’t get enough sleep each night, your body will begin to develop ‘sleep debt’ and you’ll feel exhausted, which can have an affect on your overall well-being and health.
Why do we need sleep?
When we are awake, a chemical called adenosine builds up in the bloodstream.
It is only when we are asleep that the body is able to break this chemical down and if you don’t get enough sleep your body won’t have enough time to break down the chemical.
The result is a slow down in your reactions, feeling generally tired and wanting to have a nap.
How to improve your sleep
For those who aren’t getting enough hours in bed, it is all about setting a sleep schedule and sticking to it.
Sometimes that means heading to bed 15 minutes earlier, while other times it might mean adjusting electronics so they aren’t waking you up in the middle of the night.
If you are struggling to sleep, there are several factors that could be causing this – including poor diet, poor sleeping arrangements and even the temperature of your bedroom.
Ditch the alcohol and caffeine, and make sure you exercise daily.