Why do health professionals advice a 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep? What are the consequences of sleep deprivation? These are some of the frequently asked questions with regards to getting the right amount of sleep.
Sleep is the body’s natural state of reduced consciousness, sensory activity and inactivity of voluntary muscles; generally a reduced ability for stimuli reaction. During sleep, the body’s anabolic state is activated to promote growth and revitalise the nervous, skeletal, muscular and immune systems of the body.
As we juggle our daily activities, we tend to take sleeping for granted. While at times we may reduce our sleeping hours and put more emphasis and time to the work that we do, there are also physiologically related factors that keep us from getting a quality and well-rested sleep. Irrespective of the cause, sleep deprivation eventually affects our mood, energy, judgment skills, ability to handle stress and lead to that feeling of burn-out and an overall imbalance that may cause disease and illness. The hours that you lost for the day’s sleep, however, cannot be compensated by sleeping additional hours the next day.
It is interesting to know why the ideal amount of time allocated for sleeping is about 7-8 hours a day. Research studies show that people who sleep less than 7 hours increases their risk for a car accident up to three times and those who sleep more than 9 hours create a negative effect to your body which lessens your life span compared to those who sleep 8 hours a day.
But what about a power nap? Apart from the normal and advised sleeping pattern of 7-8 hours, the human body undergoes a natural increase in drowsiness and demands a rest, or time for a nap, during the afternoon. This time allows your body to recover for better cognitive and health functions. But how long should you nap? Based on the sleeping cycle, 15-30 minutes of sleep is good enough for you to recharge and not go into a deep slumber but napping for an hour provides better restorative effects compared to a 30-minute sleep.
A hectic schedule is not an excuse for you not to get the right amount of sleep. It all depends on how you properly manage your time to accommodate the essential activities you need to do daily. Grab every minute when you could close your eyes and relieve yourself from stress and regain more energy for you to get through your daily routine. And remember, sleep is not a luxury but a necessity for you to be able to be efficient and stay healthy.