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Why should we have eight hours' sleep?
#1
Why should we have eight hours' sleep? [parts of this thread were copied from our old forum]

Feeling tired throughout the day could suggest a problem
WHO, WHAT, WHY?
The Magazine answers...
A survey is suggesting that only a tiny minority of us are getting eight hours sleep a night. But do we really need that much?
"Getting your eight hours" is one of those injunctions, like drinking plenty of water or not to swim in canals, that most people take at face value.
When former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was reported to need only five hours' sleep a night, it was taken as evidence of a near-supernaturally tough constitution.
And it's become an increasingly common sentiment that too much work and stress and missing out on our eight hours is the modern plague.
But the good news, says Prof Jim Horne, director of Loughborough University's Sleep Research Centre, is that we don't need eight hours at all.
"It's nonsense. It's like saying everybody should have size eight shoes, or be five foot eight inches.
"There is a normal distribution - the average sleep length is seven, seven and a quarter hours."
Lots of people report having more or less than the average, he said. It may all be down to genes, and what people are accustomed to.
The US National Sleep Foundation suggests seven to nine hours a night is advisable for adults, and a survey it conducted in 2002 suggested three-quarters of Americans had problems sleeping and a third were so sleepy during the day their activities were affected.
The foundation says: "In the past century, we have reduced our average time in sleep. Though our society has changed, our brains and bodies have not. Sleep deprivation is affecting us all and we are paying the price."
But Prof Horne says: "The test of insufficient sleep is whether you are sleepy in the day or if you remain alert through most of the day."
In a nutshell, if you sleep for eight hours a night go to work and find yourself lolling and drooling on the keyboard, you aren't getting enough. If you're sleeping five hours and running the country, you probably are getting enough.
And Prof Horne, the author of Sleepfaring: A journey through the science of sleep, says the idea that Victorians got lots of sleep and had a better work-life balance is a myth.
Indeed a classic demand of the 19th Century labour movement was "Eight hours labour, Eight hours recreation, Eight hours rest".
Women may need more sleep than men, Prof Horne says, due to the structure of their brains. And he says there is evidence that young children are getting too little sleep, with a detrimental effect on their behaviour.
Sleep patterns disrupted by shift work have been linked to heart disease, but this has also been linked to stress caused byunpleasant jobs, Prof Horne notes.
He stresses that sleep disorders are a 24-hour phenomenon with sufferers spending their days stressed and unable to clear their heads at night.
Leaving the bedroom and doing a jigsaw is one course of action, Prof Horne says. And the insomniac must not dwell on his problems or his condition.
As Mrs Thatcher once told the Sun: "If you brood and brood and brood... you won't go to sleep."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/6546209.stm
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#2
zimlich wrote:

I like 10-12 hours. When I can't get them I feel ok, but oh, I love to sleep.
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#3
PaulaO wrote:

I vary. Sometimes I sleep as much as 15hrs. Other times, 4 or less. But that can be attributed to my insomnia.
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#4
JudgeMental wrote:

I routinely get 8 1/2 hrs. If that number is interrupted by apnea or other sleep related events, I feel crappy the next day.

Paula.. new drug "Intermizzo" may be our next weapon on choice, against the middle-of -the-night rodeo.
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#5
PaulaO wrote:

It is on my list of things to talk to my GP about. Most of the time, I can kick start my sleep back into some sort of semblance of rhythm. But the last few years, it has gotten harder. Depression doesn't help. I'm one of those who, instead of craving sleep during down cycles, I don't want to sleep. It is almost a fear of it.

Anyway, I've hesitated to use medication. I've read horror stories about Ambien and others.
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#6
Edited post

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#7
gumbloid wrote:

Might just be me, but I find that 8 hours sleep is too much. Typically 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 is the ideal window for me.
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#8
Sleep quality 'improves with age'
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17209448

The belief that older people tend to suffer worse sleep may be false - in fact the reverse may be true, according to US researchers.

A telephone survey of more than 150,000 adults suggested that, apart from a blip in your 40s, sleep quality gets better with age.
Those in their 80s reported the best sleep, says the study in Sleep journal.

A UK sleep researcher said while poor health could affect sleep, it was a "myth" that age alone was a factor.

While universities have equipment which can measure sleep duration and disturbance in study volunteers, this does not always match the volunteer's own opinion on their night's rest.

The research, conducted by the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania, instead focused on asking large numbers of randomly selected people about their sleep.

They were also asked about their race, income, education, mood and general health.

While being depressed or having health problems was linked to poor sleep quality, once the researchers had adjusted the results to compensate for this, a distinct pattern emerged.

Instead, they found that complaints about poor sleep quality fell as age rose, with the lowest number of complaints coming from the over-70s. Middle age blip

The only exception to this trend was middle age, where sleep quality was poorer.

Dr Michael Grandner said the original reason for setting up the study was to confirm the precise opposite - that sleep quality declined in old age.

He said: "These results force us to re-think what we know about sleep in older people - men and women."

He suggested that it was possible that older people were sleeping worse, but simply felt better about it.

"Even if sleep among older Americans is actually worse than in younger adults, feelings about it still improve with age."

Professor Derk-Jan Dijk, Professor of Sleep and Physiology and Director of the Surrey Sleep Research Centre, said the study was "interesting".

He said: "We have got to get away from all these myths about ageing - many people are very content with their sleep."

However, he said that asking people for their subjective opinion about sleep patterns could produce answers that were dependent on their mood at the time.

"If you are angry because your boss didn't give you a pay rise, your perception of sleep quality may be very different from someone who is feeling generally content."
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#9
[copied from old forum]

Steven wrote in the poll "On average, how many hours of sleep do you get each night?"

All the while I thought that my average of a little less than 7 hours of sleep per night was not enough.

Then, I see the following:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424...bs%3Dvideo

After you watch the video, you can also read the article that goes along with it.
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