7 Hours of Sleep New Recommended Amount for Adults

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If you want to make the most of each day and be at your most productive during work hours, the new recommendation is to ensure you get 7 hours of sleep or more.

Whilst workplaces around the world have their own sleep culture that varies in the amount of resting hours undertaken, new research reveals that to perform at our best, we should aim to have 7 hours of sleep or more each night.

It goes without saying that there are also more benefits to sleep other than just productivity, such as to our health and to our mood and we’ve previously covered further negative effects that can come from sleep deprivation.

But fresh research by Dr. Mathias Basner, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, reveals more behind the science of not getting a full 7 hours of sleep.

What Happens When We Don’t Get 7 Hours of Sleep Each Night?

According to Basner’s study, achieving only 6 hours of sleep a night means we reach similar declining levels of our cognitive skills as someone who hasn’t a had a full night’s sleep after just 10-12 days.

If you only manage 4 hours of sleep a night, then these same skills will experience an even faster decline, reaching the same type of state after just 5- 7 days.

In terms of how sleep affects our main functions and brains, Basner links sleep to contributing towards something called ‘Brain Plasticity’.

The medical world believes this to be one of the key ways in which the brain can rewire itself on a daily basis.

Impairing this process through not achieving the recommended 7 hours of sleep takes a direct hit on our ability to focus, solve memory related problems, create emotional instabilities among other effects.

Worst still, these effects don’t become apparent straight away – instead, they are likely to build up over the years and if direct action isn’t taken to resolve our sleeping habits, it can create long lasting damage.

How to Ensure You Sleep for the Recommended 7 Hours

The effects of missing out on 7 hours of sleep do sound frightening and are likely to raise concern, but Inc recommends how we can help ensure we stay at our daily best and protect our long term health.

Their first suggestion is the most obvious one – just make sure you achieve a full 7 hours of sleep every night.

It’s regularly been debated as to just how much sleep we need to maintain a healthy life, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concludes that the average adult requires at least 7 hours of high-quality sleep, with no disturbances.

They note that while you may not think your sleep is being disturbed by the odd noise waking you during brief hours of the night, it can lessen the quality immediately and set you back from gaining the rest your body requires.

Cancel Out the Noise

If you are struggling with sleeping all the way through the night due to outside noise, it’s recommended to use protective aids such as noise-cancelling earbuds to help block it out.

Hearing or trying to sleep through noise in the night can actually stress our bodies, which in turn produces stress hormones.

These stress hormones can cause health issues should you have a long-term exposure of little to no sleep due to noise, so it’s important to manage it effectively to stay on top of your health in the long term.

Catch Up with a Nap

One final suggestion given for achieving the recommended 7 hours of sleep is to break it up with a nap during some point in the day.

If you find you are regularly having to sacrifice an hour or two due to working hours or for any other reason, the recommended 7 hours can be broken up by a short nap, with an added consideration to be taken into account.

Taking naps is helpful in catching up with missed sleep, but in order not to feel groggy and disorientated once you’ve come back around, your body needs to go through a wind-down and wind-up process.

The wind-down process occurs when we go to sleep, whereas the wind-up process is where your body and brain kickstarts in order to function again.

To compensate for this process, Basner suggests an unusual albeit effective suggestion when you head for a nap – drink a cup of coffee or a caffeinated beverage first.

By having caffeine in your system when attempting to get your head down to nap for an hour or two, it will jump-start the wind-up process for your body, alleviating any lasting grogginess once it’s time to get up again.

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Sam Rose

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