Have you ever had this experience? Sometimes you only slept for 4 or 5 hours at night, but you woke up full of energy. However, sometimes you slept for more than 8 hours and wake up still exhausted? You may be wondering what's going on here? How much sleep do I need?
Maybe you've lived for decades, but you don't understand sleep at all. Let's talk about sleep today.
Part 1. How much sleep do you need?
First of all, because everyone's conditions are different, sleep is a personal issue. How much sleep you need really varies from person to person. Basically, there are two requirements for good sleep: regular and enough sleep. For example, if your recommended sleep time is 8 hours a day, and you are used to going to bed at 1 am every day and getting up at 9 am, but you don’t feel sleepy at all, this is considered good sleep.
Our sleep state is divided into 4 stages from light to deep. After falling asleep, our sleep state changes from light to deep, and gradually enters deep sleep stage, and then returns to the stage of REM sleep. Such a sleep cycle takes about 90 minutes. After going through 4-5 cycles per night, deep sleep no longer occurs. REM sleep and deep sleep alternately continue, and finally, we wake up.
Therefore, when you have completed a full sleep cycle and get up at this time, you will not only feel that you have fallen asleep, but you can also wake up full of energy; but if you wake up in the deep sleep stage, you will feel very uncomfortable, and sleep will not have the effect of rest. This answers the question we started with.
Besides, based on the sleep cycle mentioned above, we can derive the optimal sleep time. Generally, adults sleep with 3-6 cycles at night, most of them are 4-5 cycles, so the corresponding time is 6 hours or 7 and a half hours (calculated in 90 minutes each cycle). But you should be noted that among all sleep habits, the most important factor affecting sleep quality is the stability of sleep duration, so be sure to develop a habit of fixed sleep duration.
Part 2. How to improve your sleep quality
1. Do not drink caffeine and alcoholic beverages before going to bed.
Caffeine inhibits the deep sleep. Therefore, coffee can make you sleep longer in light sleep stages and shorter in deep sleep stages, so you can't get enough rest.
Although alcohol can make you fall asleep quickly, you will remain in a light sleep state in the first half of the night and cannot sleep deeply; in the second half of the night, after the alcohol is completely metabolized, it will make you sleep lighter or even sober.
2. Food and sleep
Carbohydrate-rich foods have a chain reaction in your body that increases sleepiness. When carbohydrates are digested in the stomach, they release insulin that helps tryptophan enter your brain, which is converted into serotonin to make you feel sleepy.
On the contrary, protein will have the opposite effect of carbohydrates. Protein is converted into amino acids, which will prevent tryptophan from entering the brain, so serotonin, which makes people sleepy will decrease accordingly, and people will become more awake.
So, having a protein-rich meal at noon may eliminate your sleepiness; eating a carbohydrate-rich meal for dinner should help you sleep better, though, four hours before bedtime.
3. Light is important
The melatonin helps us fall asleep at night. During the day, when the sun shines into the room and you haven't opened your eyes yet, retinal cells are already responding to the blue light, and they signal the brain's circadian clock to alert the pineal gland to reduce melatonin secretion, so the body becomes more alert and begins to wake up.
According to this principle, you can choose strong shading curtains to block sunlight and ensure that you will not wake up early. Also, if you want to fall asleep quickly, it's best to turn off all screens like your phone and computer as soon as possible.
The bottom line
Now you should have realized how much sleep you should be getting. But as we said, everyone's situation is different, therefore, you can increase or decrease the sleep time appropriately based on our standards according to your own needs. Remember to ensure that the increased or decreased sleep time is a complete sleep cycle, which is 90 minutes.