Who here likes sleep? I mean, who wouldn’t like to be able to kick back and relax in the comfort of our home, our safe space, our sanctuary. Just the thought of it is just so... tempting.
Not only that it brings satisfaction, sleep is one beneficiary activity – healthwise. With good sleep, we will reap numerous health benefits, inside and out, physically and mentally. It has been scientifically proven time and time again that sleep defines how we function both mentally and physically throughout the day.
Surely everybody knows that sleep affects our health, what else is new then? Well, recently there’s been a study that counters the preceding study about the 8 hours sleep. Instead, this study stated that 8 hours of sleep is too much, whereas sleeping for 5 hours is more appropriate and beneficial. So, let’s talk about sleep for a moment, and really discuss the real facts based on studies on sleep and its effects on our body and overall health.
The Science Behind This Leisure Activity
Before we jump in to weighing how amount of sleep and the quality of it may brings various effects to us physically and/or mentally, we need to know the “science” behind it all, to say the least.
Basically, our body is run by something called circadian rhythm, or as some would call “body clock”. To put it simply, circadian rhythm is a built-in 24-hour clock in our body that tells us what time it is synchronised to what our body needs. This biological clock in our body – that’s controlled by our brain – manages things like sleep, body temperature, metabolism, and release of hormones.
In terms for sleep, circadian rhythm has a major impact to sleep-wake cycle. This internal body clock tells us when it’s time to feel sleepy and when it’s time to to be alert. Same as how we understand the concept of night and day through our senses, circadian rhythm lets organisms in our body know the rising and setting patterns of the sun, so to speak.
How Many Hours of Sleep Do You Really Need?
There’s no need to elaborate how good night sleep brings powerful and positive impacts to us physically and mentally. Applying to the circadian rhythm, when we don’t get enough sleep or sleeping at odd times, it can throw off our inner clock. The processes undergoing in our body that circadian rhythm regulates in our cells may also be impacted. Thus, negative impacts to our health might be affected by our lack of sleep.
The question is, how many hours are required in order to be considered as enough or good-quality sleep? Well, not all sleep is created equal and there’s no universal definition for sleep quality. Every individual has unique needs and preferences when it comes to sleep, therefore the answer to how much sleep someone needs lies on factors such as age, genetics and sleep quality. However, for many years, it has been said and believed that adults need 7–9 hours of sleep on a daily basis.
5 Hours VS 8 Hours of Sleep
As we’ve established, sleep is catered by circadian rhythm that basically runs our entire body. With that in mind, let’s start the debate on which one is better between 5 hours or 8 hours of sleep.
It’s true that for some people 4–6 hours of sleep would allow them to function exceedingly well throughout the day. President Trump, former President Obama, Martha Stewart, and twitter founder Jack Dorsey have spoken that the 4–6 hours of sleep is the sweet spot for them. However, the rule doesn’t apply for most people as it was discovered only a mere 1% of the population is made up of “short sleepers”, according to ScienceAlert.
Kelsey Down, a sleep writer and expert from Sleep Train, said that short sleeper thrive off of less than six hours of sleep. They get roughly the same amount of rest each night with high-quality rest. So, for the short sleepers, the shortened sleep cycles fulfill their body needs.
Then, what makes some people considered to be one of the nocturnal ones? Well, the answer is in the DNA, according to Mattress Firm’s sleep health expert Dr. Kansagra. Therefore, before undergoing the short sleep cycle, we have to be diagnosed first through an assessment known as the Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire.
In addition, there’s a study that said sleeping only 5 hours per night for several nights in a row would results to decreased mental performance. The study found that the effect is the same as drinking enough alcohol to have a blood alcohol content of 0.06. That’s enough to impair someone’s reasoning and memory, as well as lowering of caution. So, while the concept of short sleepers seems super appealing, just make sure that our body is readily equipped to handle it.