Avena Originals Articles
How Much Sleep
How Much Should You Sleep
Many people do not get enough sleep. If they do get enough it is often not consistently so. We need sleep. Without it everything suffers. But how do you know how much you really need? The average adult needs close to 8 hours of sleep. This means 8 hours EVERY day. If you do not sleep enough at night there is no way to refresh and recharge without sleeping. It really cannot be replaced. Here is a great chart for children. They have important sleep needs too. There are many studies showing the ill effects of poor sleeping habits on mood and anxiety. The results of these studies are just as relevant for health as well. A major study showed that those who sleep less than 6 hours a night have a 50 percent increased risk of viral infections.
These same people also showed an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. These facts may make you stop and listen. But there is more! Studies have demonstrated relationships between poor sleeping habits (less than 5 hours or greater than 8 on average) with greater chances of developing type 2 diabetes. That conclusion is based solely on sleeping practices and excludes other factors such as smoking, hypertension, and age. This proves again that health is more than just what you put in your body. It is dependent on how you treat it as well!
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Your body runs naturally on a 24-hour clock. We have a natural time for tiredness and alertness that corresponds to the time of day. (Sunlight can be a factor.) You have regular times where your mind and body are most alert and active. As well there is always a dip in your performance in the middle of the afternoon (depending on your wake-up time, this can range between 1 and 4 pm). This is why many cultures have adopted a ‘siesta time', to capitalize on this tired phase. After this mid-afternoon lull, your need for sleep will slowly begin to increase through the late afternoon and evening until you fall asleep. Depriving yourself of even an hour of sleep increases your body's fatigue throughout the entire day until you fall asleep again. There are two kinds of people: early risers and night owls. If you work best at night, try waking up later, or plan your workday around later times to better correlate your prime alertness to the time when you need it the most.
DID YOU KNOW?
It has been proven that naps improve both physical and mental performance. Many athletes incorporate naps into their ‘game day' routine. This is beneficial for more than just athletes. Even those people who work at a desk job notice improvements in their ability to work. Many large high-tech companies encourage their employees to nap.