Sleep is vital for our body’s functioning and we have always been advised to stick to the golden rule of “eight hours of sleep”. However, since the concept of “quality sleep” can be rather subjective, does sleeping eight hours a day really mean the same thing to everybody?
Generally, we are meant to be active in the day and sleep in the night. This does not suit everyone however, as there are many people who resort to sleeping in during the day and working through the night (e.g. a bartender or a night security officer). Our body has its own internal clock that that operates on a 24-hour basis, while our circadian rhythms are unique to each person. So sleeping at 10PM each night can prove to be rather disruptive for someone who identifies as a night owl.
In some countries, the climate can be so hot that you will avoid leaving your house as far as possible. To make the day pass faster, some opt for a nap. This nap may disrupt your sleep cycle when you try to fall asleep at night. People who reside who colder climes tend to retire earlier and for longer periods as well, due to the way the human body reacts to cold temperatures. Individuals who regularly engage in plenty of manual labour or strenuous physical activity also typically benefit from greater amounts of rest, due to their body’s need to facilitate recovery.
Having physiological problems such as gastric reflux, arthritis, pre-menstrual syndrome or psychological issues such as stress, anxiety and depression can also hamper sleep and even mess with the body’s circadian rhythm. It may also involve your diet and the type of medication you consume. Of course, people with illnesses or injuries naturally require more sleep in order to recover properly.
There are so many factors that dictate the optimal amount of sleep. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to discover for themselves where the limits fall within. Try doing this mini-quiz to determine if your body is getting the amount of sleep it requires.
- Do you wake up in the middle of the night?
- Do you often wake up before your alarm?
- Do you feel sleepy during the day?
- How long does it take for you to fall asleep?
- Do you find yourself frequently hitting the snooze button?