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How Much Sleep Do We Need (Hours Don’t Matter Much)


Sleeping duration is a very tedious part of the puzzle as many factors take place in deciding the right amount of sleep that can be said to be enough. There is not a set figure to answer this query.

In short, the recommended number of sleeping hours depends on two prime deciding factors: a) Age and, b) Sleep Cycles.

1) Age: Children, senior people, and pregnant women need more sleep than healthy adults or middle-aged individuals. For a good reference, check this great resource.

2) Sleep Cycles: As you know, a sound sleep works in cycles. These cycles don’t happen linearly. For the first few hours, we are mostly in NREM stages of sleep (roughly, for the first 4-5 hours). As the night advances, we are mostly in REM stage of sleep (during the next 2-3 hours).

Both NREM and REM cycles are mandatory for a rejuvenating sleep. Reason being, during the NREM stages, blood circulation increases throughout the muscles of the body that helps in their growth & repairing and during the REM stage blood flow rises rapidly to the brain that consolidates memory and emotions.

Take Away So Far

1) Since one sleep cycle lasts for approximately 90 minutes, set your sleep duration between 7 to 8 hours so that you can have both NREM and REM cycles during your sleep.

2) Here onward, work on improving the quality of the sleep rather the quantity. We will talk about how to get a quality sleep later in this article.

Here’s a little caveat though. It doesn’t mean sleeping for more than the recommended hours will do any good to your health. On the contrary, sleeping too long is as detrimental to your health as sleeping too little.

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