Mind Your P's and Z's: How Much Sleep You Need


The story of Goldilocks and the three bears comes to mind when I read about a study on the perfect amount of sleep we should aim for each night. Too little? Nope. Not good. Too much? Not much better! And, there is more. The "just right" amount of sleep can chase away heart disease and a variety of other diseases, too. So, where do you fall in this spectrum of blissful slumber? How many hours do you rack up each night? Come take a look to see where you fall.

I wrote about creating a bedtime routine here to help you sleep as well as creating a restful spot to do that in as well. Okay. I even wrote about avoiding jet lag here. Yes, perhaps I am a bit obsessed with getting sleep! But, I am well aware that sleep is an important part of living the healthy life that we talk so much about here at The Health-Minded. Sleep is something I struggle with at times, so, the study intrigued me and I had to share.






Sleep Study Facts: Getting It "Just Right"



I always thought the more sleep the better. But, I thought wrong apparently. Here's the scoop on that study I was talking about:


1.  Too little . . . AND . . . too much sleep can lead to disease. 

The study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) links too little sleep of six hours or less AS WELL AS too much sleep of 10 or more hours with chronic diseases. Those diseases include heart disease, diabetes, anxiety and obesity in adults age 45 and older.

Surprisingly enough, the associations with coronary heart disease, stroke and diabetes were even more pronounced with more sleep.


2.  And, the sweet spot is . . .  

It looks like Goldilocks (and our bodies) would be happy if sleep each night hovered around seven to nine hours to receive the health benefits of sleep.



3.  Don't ignore the signals.

Sleep illnesses like sleep apnea, snoring or insomnia should be addressed by your doctor and even a specialist or sleep physician.  It could greatly improve your quality of life and keep disease away.

Here is how to find such a specialist.

And, just to be clear,  below are specific definitions of those disorders:

Sleep apnea: one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep

Insomnia: inadequate or poor-quality sleep due to difficulty falling asleep, waking up frequently during the night with difficulty returning to sleep, waking up too early in the morning, or unrefreshing sleep; may cause problems during the day, such as tiredness, a lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, and irritability.

Snoring: noisy breathing during sleep. It may occur nightly or intermittently. It can cause disruptions to your own sleep and your bed-partner's sleep. It can lead to fragmented and un-refreshing sleep and linked to daytime dysfunction and heart disease. About one-half of people who snore loudly have obstructive sleep apnea.

Getting enough shut-eye to feel rested each day? Maybe. Or, maybe not. Tap here for what studies say is the just the right amount of sleep you need each night to feel and look your best!


4.  Look at the numbers.

Here are the study stats if you are interested: It consisted of more than 54,000 participants age 45 or older in 14 states. Nearly one third of participants were identified like me, short sleepers, meaning sleeping six hours or less on average. More than 64 percent were classified as optimal sleepers (lucky!), and only 4 percent of participants were long sleepers.





Keep the Beat Going


It is American Heart Health Month, which I was alerted to recently.  Campaigns like this can act as a gentle nudge to pay extra attention to our one and only beating heart!

Along with hitting that sweet spot in the sleep area (7 - 9 hours each night), those of us with genetic predispositions to heart issues (and everyone else too!) may benefit from more heart-healthy actions like this:

  • consuming lots of fruits and vegetables to obtain a variety of nutrients
  • exercising regularly
  • quit smoking or never start at all (Watch that second-hand smoke exposure, too!)

Here are more great tips in this jam-packed graphic that the American Recall Center sent me last week:








For Even More On The Topic . . .


  • Making better choices at the grocery store is crucial to eating healthy. Here's specific information on all those confusing food labels to make that shopping a whole lot easier. 

So, do you need to work on those sleep numbers to land safely in the sweet spot? Have you heard of this study before?


24 comments:

  1. Hi Lori, I definitely think that 7-9 hours of sleep is perfect and over time, I've learned that 8 hours is right for me! I wish though I could sleep through the night and not have to get up a million times. (more like 4 or 5 because it totally disrupts my sleep cycle, bleh. But you are right, eating good foods helps with sleep, not drinking any fluids after 6 pm. for me is big. And exercising.....I can't stand it, but when I do it I sleep so much better! Thanks for the reminders. And I don't want to have heart problems due to lack of sleep!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exercise does help me, too, Laura. Important for a lot of things! Great to hear from you!

      Delete
  2. I try to get about 7 hours and that works for me. Any longer and I just feel lazy and any less than that and I can't function.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's great you have figured out what makes you feel best! I, too, don't feel well if I sleep too long! Thanks for stopping by, Dannii.

      Delete
  3. 7-9 is perfect, funny how too much sleep really messes me up. Great post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jennifer! Appreciate that! Sweet dreams.

      Delete
  4. I LOVE these tips, Lori! Sleep can be an indicator of so many different things! I love getting my 8 hours in and than I am happy as can be :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Ceara. I bet you are! You are right - sleep is a great mood indicator.

      Delete
  5. I have non-restorative sleep, no matter how little or how much I get, and have done 3 sleep studies. All they say is that I snore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That must be frustrating. Here is a link to perhaps get some help with that: http://www.myneurologypractice.com/how-we-help/sleep-disorders.php. I wish you the best of luck with it.

      Delete
  6. On the days I have to get up early, I need to be in bed by nine pm but most of the time I'm in bed at 10:30 or 11pm. One great thing, I can come home in the middle of the day and take a nap. #wowlinkup

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Napping does work for a lot of people to make them feel better. Sounds like you are in tune with what works for you, Sheila! Thanks for commenting!

      Delete
  7. You have no idea how often I google, 'how much sleep do I need' To get enough time for myself I'd like to go for 6.5 but I need to face the facts I need a solid 8.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sure is tough sometimes to get all the sleep we need each night, and with motherhood demands, even harder. Try to carve it out for yourself, though, and make the changes you need to do it!

      Delete
  8. This is a great article. I know the minimum I need to function properly since everyone is different. I recently saw a revised sleep chart that included more sleep the younger you were and actually LESS sleep the older you were - age 60 or older. It was very interesting. #wowlinkup

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is interesting and I have read information on that as well. So glad you liked the post! That always means so much.

      Delete
  9. Great advice and tips. I do think everyone is different and what they need and want. I am about 6-8 hours and ok with that whereas my hubby only needs and is fine with 4-6 hours. Very interesting post. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you found the post of interest, Jenny. Thanks for coming by!

      Delete
  10. Fabulous advice. I am always super aware of how much sleep I am getting. I don't function very well with less than 7 hours and feel groggy all day with more than 9. I have to say that the 8 hours sleep seems to be my sweet spot #wowlinkup

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is great you know exactly where you feel and operate the best! I am so glad you liked the piece and taking the time to comment. Thank you for that.

      Delete
  11. Great tips! I feel about 7-8 hours is good for me as well because less than that I don't feel rested while too much more than that, I feel groggy half the day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is great you have found your "sweet spot" then, Mary Ellen! Glad you came by!

      Delete
  12. Getting sufficient sleep is my number one challenge! Thank you for sharing these valuable tips with us at the Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party Blog Hop! I sincerely appreciate it. I’m pinning and sharing!

    ReplyDelete