It’s amazing to think that the average person spends almost a third of their life asleep. But what is sleep and why do we need it? I guess most of us think it is just an extra long rest that as humans we need to enjoy and be more present during our waking hours. However, there is more to this ritual than meets the eye.
During the time we’re asleep our bodies are making the most of the downtime, taking the opportunity to replenish our energy levels and make repairs to our body while our brains organise and store the memories of the day before.
How much sleep do we need?
The amount of sleep we need will depend on three main factors, sex, age and health. This will also change as we grow older.
Here is a great diagram courtesy of The Sleep Council to show just how much sleep your body needs for your age.
It’s easy to think that the amount of sleep we have is the main thing here but we all live our lives differently and some people get more tired than others and naturally need more than others. The main thing is actually the quality you have as this is what will set your body up for the following day.
The Sleep Cycle
The quality of sleep we get is all about the cycle our bodies go through while our eyes are closed. It is also important that we reach our deepest sleep, the kind of sleep where dreams are made.
Here’s another fantastic diagram from The Sleep Council that shows how we get to our deepest sleep.
Each one of these cycles lasts around one and a half hours, but to feel the full benefit we must experience all four stages. During what is classed as a full nights sleep we will experience this cycle five or six times. While a disturbed sleep will go through fewer cycles resulting therefore in less deep sleep time meaning less rejuvenation of our bodies.
Still Don’t Feel Like You’re Getting a Good Nights Sleep
If you feel you are not gaining the benefits of a good nights sleep take a look at our blog: 7 Steps to a better nights sleep. Here you will discover what to do more of and what to do less to induce a deep, rejuvenating cycle.