How much sleep do you really need? In general, most adults need about 7 hours of sleep per night. Children and adolescents need even more – around 9 or 10 hours per night. Everyone is different however, and the amount of sleep people need varies widely, ranging from 5 to 12 hours per night. The important thing is to find out how much sleep you need to stay healthy and alert, and then try to get this amount of sleep each night.
The right amount of sleep is the amount that lets you wake up feeling refreshed and well. You may be able to function on the amount of sleep you are getting now, but it still may not be enough for you to reach your full potential. Here's how to tell if you're not getting enough sleep:
- You need an alarm clock to wake up.
- You sleep longer and better on weekends.
- You have trouble getting out of bed in the morning.
- You feel tired during the day.
- You have bags or dark circles under your eyes.
- You doze off while sitting in a public place, such as a movie theatre or meeting.
- You get drowsy while driving.
- You have trouble concentrating.
- You have early morning headaches.
If you notice any of these signs, you may not be getting enough sleep. Try to gradually increase the amount of sleep you get each night until you find the right amount – you'll know that you've got it when these signs start to go away. If you haven't been getting enough sleep for a long time, it may take a while to recover. If you've tried everything and still have trouble getting a good night's sleep, talk to your doctor. You may have a sleep disorder.
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