Do some people need more sleep than others?
Original Article By: Shreya Agrawal
It is widely recognized that sleep is essential for maintaining both mental and physical well-being, but the specific amount of sleep that an individual needs can vary widely. As people age, their sleep needs may change based on factors such as lifestyle, work demands, and health conditions. For example, the sleep requirements of newborns can be as high as 16-18 hours per day, while the recommended amount of sleep for adolescents is 7-9 hours per day. Although this is what is recommended, some individuals may need more or less depending on their circumstances. Some people may feel energetic and well-rested with as little as 5-6 hours of sleep, while others may require 9-10 hours or more to feel rested. Factors such as individual activity levels and the presence of certain medications or health conditions can impact an individual's sleep needs and energy levels. Thus, it is important to tailor sleep to the body's specific requirements in order to maintain good energy levels.
Now that this is established, another question arises: Is it healthy to consistently sleep less than 5-6 hours or more than 9-10 hours? If a person is able to sleep for 4-5 hours and still feel rested and energetic, this may be normal for them. However, if a short duration of sleep is associated with negative impacts on health or daily activities, it may be considered pathological and require evaluation.
Similarly, sleeping more than 9-10 hours on a consistent basis may not be healthy, and it is important to consider any associated symptoms such as headaches, irritability, drowsiness, or facial swelling that may suggest a need for medical consultation. In conjunction with undersleeping, oversleeping has been linked to a range of negative health impacts, including increased inflammation, decreased immunity, and a potential risk for chronic diseases. It may also increase the risk of conditions such as diabetes, obesity, headaches, and back pain, as well as more serious health issues like heart disease and stroke. Stress can also be a side effect of oversleeping.
It is recommended that to ensure good, adequate sleep, healthy habits such as exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and establishing a consistent sleep routine should be adopted. Additional tips include avoiding sleeping late on weekends, as it can disrupt the brain’s natural circadian rhythm and make it harder to fall asleep during the week; avoiding long naps after 4 PM; keeping a sleep diary to keep track of any patterns; and establishing a night-time ritual.
Agrawal, S. (2022, December 20). Do some people need more sleep than others? The Indian Express. Retrieved December 20, 2022, from https://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/varying-sleep-requirement-causes-health-effects-sleep-101-8329880/
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