How Much Sleep Do You Actually Need?
The more you do, the more you need to sleep!
Keeping a consistent sleep schedule is vital for both your strength and health!
Sleep is the most important and valuable recovery tool for our mind and body. Without proper sleep, our bodies cannot function optimally, or even at a normal rate.
Studies have shown that losing even one hour of sleep from your normal sleep schedule, greatly decreases your mental and physical performance, and taking an extra hour of sleep the next day will not bring you back to normal function.
This means that you cannot catch up on sleep!
Sleep is important and must be maintained regularly during your daily schedule for optimal benefits. If you are constantly changing the amount of sleep you get or time of day that you sleep it will interfere with your Arcadian rhythm, or natural time clock.
Your Arcadian Rhythm:
Our body does not know or care what the clock says, or if it is daylight savings time. Before clocks, our body still had a natural rhythm that was based on light.
Studies have shown that when it becomes dark at night and then light in the morning, our bodies go through chemical changes that say it is either time for rest or to wake up.
As the sun sets our bodies begin to slow down functions and want to be in a restful state to recover from the day’s activities. Then as the sun comes up it begins to activate systems, such as releasing insulin to put glucose into cells for energy, in order to get ready for daily activities.
For most people, it is recommended that you sleep for at least 7 hours a night, but this is only a minimum that does not provide the most recovery.
Everyone has a different amount of sleep that is required for their body, but there is a general amount of time that provides optimal recovery for most active individuals.
For most optimal recovery, be in a restful state as the sun goes down and sleep from at least 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. each day.
This is best for your Arcadian Rhythm, which means that as the natural light from outside dims down, so should your activities for the day, and the light you use around you. This will help to start the recovery process and get your body prepared for sleep so that you are not up all night staring at the ceiling. Also, to avoid interfering with your Arcadian rhythm, which is regulated by light, avoid being around a lot of light at night such as T.V. or computer lights.
How much Sleep do you actually need?
Sleeping with the sun is best for our recovery, but not always adaptable to our life’s activities. Again, we go back to the minimum requirement of getting at least 7 hours of sleep each day, with closer to 8 or 9 hours being better for those that are active.
However, as we know, we are all different and our bodies all recover at different rates.
If you want to know how much sleep you require, then simply go to sleep at a normal time (9-10 p.m.) after a standard day for you, and see when you wake up using no alarm. If you get less than 6 hours of sleep before waking up naturally, then go back to sleep to see if you can add on some hours.
Then count the hours you were asleep, making sure that you feel rested, and this is your normal sleep requirement. All you have to do now is account for your additional requirements after activity.
The more activity you do, and the more stress you place on yourself, the more sleep you need to recover from it.
- If you exercise for at least one hour per day, then try to add 30 minutes to 1 hour of extra sleep to your normal schedule.
- If you train intensely or are trying to build muscle, then you should add at least 1 hour of sleep for every hour of intense training that you do.
This will ensure the most amount of recovery to help decrease stress, build muscle, and make you stronger!
Now GO TO SLEEP!!!