When the question “how much sleep do we need” comes up, sleep experts would have a bit of trouble giving a straight answer…
In other words – it depends on many factors, from age to genes to lifestyle and everything in between.
With that said, since I’m not here to complicate things, but rather to make them simple, I’d go ahead and give you the short answer, which is…
Most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep per night to be at their best.
(If you’re looking for information about children’s and babies’ sleep go here)
Less than 7 hours would cause a build up of ‘sleep debt’.
If you sleep more than 8 hours, there is a very good chance that something isn’t right – either you sleep more than you really need, or you need more sleep than you should… What???
OK, let me explain.
Why You ‘Sleep Too Much’
If you feel that you need to sleep more than 8 hours every night (or most nights), there’s a good chance that it’s because either (or both):
1. You’re getting poor quality sleep (because of various factors, from unhealthy habits to a physical disorder, such as sleep apnea.)
2. Part of you chooses to oversleep. In other words – you’re not motivated enough to get out of bed, so for lack of a better word – you force yourself to oversleep.
(These probably cover at least 95% of cases. You could be among the remaning 5%. That’s why you may want to consult your doctor, or ask an expert right now.)
In both of these cases, it’s likely that, no matter how long you sleep, you wake up feeling tired and groggy and maybe even carry that feeling all day long.
Is it That Bad to ‘Oversleep’?
Well, obviously it depends on how often and how long you oversleep…
Let’s put it this way. There are two main types of ‘over-sleepers':
1. The casual over-sleeper oversleeps (9-12 hours sleep) only from time to time, usually on weekends or when they don’t have to wake up early. This is the least awful ‘kind’ of oversleeping. Still, I don’t recommend it, mainly because it damages your regular sleep schedule…
You oversleep on a day off –> you have trouble falling asleep early at night –> you wake up tired and are low on energy all day –> you either sleep the whole afternoon or carry that tiredness for a few more days…
In the long run this may cause constant tiredness and sleep problems. With time you may find that you oversleep more often than you’d like to, and soon enough you can become a ‘sleep addict’.
It’s best to avoid oversleeping at all times, but if you really want to allow yourself some extra sleep occasionally, at least try to limit yourself to up to 10 hours.
(TIP: The next day, in order to get back to your course, avoid napping in the afternoon. Instead, just start your night’s sleep a little bit earlier than usual.)
2. The sleep addict – sleeps whenever possible. On a day off? sure, but also simply every time that they can get away with it. How long? As long as possible. Sleep becomes their refuge, as if they prefer to sleep their life away.
Bottom line – either way, you’ve got to do whatever it takes to overcome your sleep addiction…
I’ve created a 5 part email course titled ‘Supercharge Your Energy’. When you join (for free), you will also get a ‘Sleep Optimization Kit’– it will teach you simple ways to get a lot more energy from less sleep.