Are 8 Hours of Sleep Necessary?

Are 8 Hours of Sleep Necessary?-image

Do I Need 8 Hours of Sleep?

Decades of sleep studies have concluded that we humans need eight hours of sleep a night. Some need fewer some more. We know people who claim they only sleep four hours a night and that is all they need. They may be the exceptions. For most of us though, Less than seven hours sleep and our cognitive abilities suffer. We are not as effective at learning, communicating, driving or remembering. A one-hour nightly sleep shortfall, over years, is associated with Alzheimer’s and dementia in the elderly.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, Americans sleep an average of 6.9 hours on weeknights. If that is you, then you likely are not functioning at peak performance. Your reaction time is longer and attention span is shorter. If you are my school bus driver, the truck driver in my rear view mirror, my airline pilot or my surgeon I am uncomfortable. You might as well be drunk. Just as you can be drunk and think you are not, you can be sleep deprived and not be aware of it.

Sleep habits evolve over time, from childhood, so however rested you feel each day is your normal. Being too tired to put forth the extra effort for a job promotion, to pitch baseballs for your kid or take your wife on a date night all affect your whole life negatively. However, not just your life but also the whole family’s life. If your demeanor projects exhaustion, it will lay like a cloud over your relationships. If this is your normal then for the sake of everyone adopt some changes that will lead to better sleep.

Falling asleep on the couch or in the recliner in front of the T.V., every night is a common culprit. You wake at 3:00 a.m., eat some cookies and go to bed. The alarm jars you awake from a deep sleep three or four hours later. Changing this one habit could better your whole life. Turn off the T.V. and go to bed at an appropriate time instead of letting yourself fall asleep in the living room. Set your alarm for 8 hours and use one with a musical chime. Do it on purpose every night until it becomes your bedtime habit.

There are a couple of things you can do to make the bedroom more inviting than the couch. A bed properly made each morning with at least 400 thread count sheets and a cozy comforter is more inviting than a rumpled bed. If your mattress causes pain, go to and view the mattress that will give you a deep night sleep and support your body comfortably. Make sure the room is dark, cool and quiet. Then simply go to sleep.

This website is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Live & Sleep is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of this website. Always consult your own GP if you’re in any way concerned about your health.