How much sleep should we get

Whilst we think our Sleep Capsules are magical, you still have to put in the sleep time to get all the extremely wide-ranging benefits that come from sleep. Lack of sleep, and by this I mean the amount of time (hours) you sleep for, is detrimental to our mental and physical health. As noted by the WHO, developed nations are living through a sleep loss epidemic most linked to our work ethos and culture - the “always on” lifestyle. 

It is funny really because many people think they don’t need much sleep and so see that as the first thing they can sacrifice in order to do all the stuff they need to do. We then focus on all the other things in our lives we can control to make us healthy - mainly what we eat and doing exercise. We become obsessed with the new wellness fad - a particular booty / thigh workout or fairy thistle tincture - that could cure all ills and prolong our life. However, the irony is, the totally natural, non-toxic, vegan (insert all the buzz words) and whatsmore FREE remedy/ prescription/therapy/exercise class there is that protects us from getting sick, keeps us mentally and physically in check is the very thing many people think they can short cut or forgo - SLEEP!

So how much sleep should you get? Sleep experts believe the optimal amount of sleep each night is between 7-8 hours [1]. Under that, the body’s ability to function declines which, in the short/ immediate-term manifests itself most noticeably in our overall cognition [2]. A lack of sleep impairs our decision-making ability (particularly with respect to reasoning, rationality and our emotional response to things) and our reactions. For example, if you consistently get 6 hours each night, studies have shown that if you were to drive a car, your response times are equivalent to if you had had a couple of alcoholic drinks [3]. 

Reduced sleep (so less than 7 hours) impacts our immunity, but if maintained consistently over time your propensity for chronic diseases greatly increases [4] [5]. One such disease where research indicated there is a strong link with sleep is Alzheimer’s (which we will discuss more in another post). High level, and overly simplified, this may be due to build up of neurological waste that would usually be cleaned out each night, but with less time is not as thorough! 

There is also such a thing as too much sleep! This would be around 9+ hours. Too much sleep in fact has the same negative impact on your health as a lack of sleep [6]. Of course, there are exceptions - you must sleep more when you are ill, but outside of that you should really be sleeping within the 7-8 hour window. (If you are consistently sleeping beyond that, there may be a sign of something else such as depression). 

This is by no means meant to scare you, it is only to point out that we should place as much, if not more importance on how much sleep we get to that which we do with our Zumba classes or the products we buy. We should prioritise our bedtime and make the time for 7-8 hours of sleep. It’s easy (you just lie horizontal) and it's extremely cheap (FREE). Plus, it will in fact make both your dieting and your exercise more effective (we will discuss sleep & dieting and sleep & exercise in another post). 

So if you set aside the right amount of time, we will do the rest - well, actually you will do the rest, we will just make sure that your sleep is the most restorative it can be as getting good quality sleep is as important as the amount you get!



[3] Matthew Walker, Why we Sleep