How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?

Posted on 05 March 2013 by Arlene Johnson

One of the common causes of insomnia is anxiety. The anxiety can cause the insomnia or visa versa—starting the vicious cycle.

I don’t know about you, but when I read “getting less than 7 hours of sleep puts you at higher risk for heart disease and cancer”… it doesn’t exactly make me relax and settle down for a good nights sleep. I found myself counting the amount of hours I slept the night before to see how many years I’ve taken off my life. For the people that want to get more sleep but can’t it only makes their insomnia worse. I came across an article by About.com that tells about all the potential dangers of not getting enough sleep. It states…

“Heart attacks and strokes are more common during the early morning hours. This fact may be explained by the way sleep interacts with the blood vessels. Lack of sleep has been associated with worsening of blood pressure and cholesterol, all risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Your heart will be healthier if you get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night.”

Another interesting point the article mentions are the affects of melatonin and how it does more than just aid us in sleeping…

Basically, if you feel good during the day on 5 to 6 hours of sleep... don't sweat it you're doing just fine

Basically, if you feel good during the day on 5 to 6 hours of sleep… don’t sweat it you’re doing just fine

“People working the late shift have a higher risk for breast and colon cancer. Researchers believe this link is caused by differing levels of melatonin in people who are exposed to light at night. Light exposure reduces the level of melatonin, a hormone that both makes us sleepy and is thought to protect against cancer. Melatonin appears to suppress the growth of tumors. Be sure that your bedroom is dark to help your body produce the melatonin it needs.”

I think that these statistics are interesting—but do they help the insomniac? Everywhere you read about sleep it seems to inform the reader (who most often is the person with the dark circles under their eyes and pulling their hair out from anxiety) “that you better start sleeping better before you end up with some horrible disease.”

This same site has a great article that was refreshing to read because it made the point that how you feel during the day is your measuring stick for if you’re sleeping enough. It’s called “Understanding Sleep” and states…

“Each individual’s sleep need varies. For the majority of adults, the daily sleep need is between 7 and 9 hours. Some people need even more than 9 hours and others need less than 7, but this is rare. If you are awake and alert during the day and feel satisfied with your sleep, then you are getting enough sleep.”

Basically, if you feel good during the day on 5 to 6 hours of sleep… don’t sweat it you’re doing just fine. If you would like a real boost to ‘rid you’ of your insomnia related anxiety read “Sleep Less, Live Longer?”

How many hours do you sleep?

Category | Anxiety

1 Comments For This Post

  1. Swannie Says:

    Plan your activities/assignments beforehand so that it won’t pile up later on. Eat lots of bananas. Take a long bath with scented aroma therapy candles lit and put it in your bathroom. Get lots and lots of sleep.

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