“I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”
How many times have we heard this declaration of invincibility from a co-worker, friend, family member, or even the sleep-deprived demons that live restlessly in our heads? We live in a culture that celebrates the walking dead, the adults wandering around aimlessly throughout the day barely functioning on a few hours sleep. Regardless for the reasons that motivate people to eschew sleep, the fact remains that sleep represents just as much of a contributor to living a healthy life as diet and exercise. For our health, we need to ponder the answer to the question, “How much sleep do adults need.”
How Much Sleep is Enough for Adults?
According to the highly respected National Institute of Health (NIH), the answer to “How much sleep do adults need” does not vary much among the adult population. You’ve heard co-workers justify two to three hours of sleep per night by exclaiming, “My body knows how much sleep it needs.” Hectic work schedules and immense family responsibilities reduce the time we count sheep each night to less than six hours. Six hours of sleep each night makes it appear that we spend too much time under the blankets. However, the NIH insists six hours does not constitute a healthy dose of sawing wood.
When Seven Is Your Lucky Number
The NIH states that although sleep requirements differ among the adult population, adults that want to live healthy, vibrant lives, should sleep at least seven and a half hours every night. Despite the perception that eight of hours of sleep makes one slovenly in the eyes of his or her co-workers, the NIH takes the question of how much sleep do adults need one step further by encouraging adults to average nine hours of sleep per night. In contrast to the myth that older adults require less sleep, the NIH maintains that adults over the age of 50 still need at least eight hours of sleep per day, even if some of the sleep comes at nap time.
Why Slumber Time Is Good for You
Some of the most significant disasters in American history went down because one or more people decided to give up sleep for a life of incompetence. Even Mrs. O’Leary’s cow was reputed to have skipped a few hours sleep, before inadvertently kicking over the lantern in the barn. As sure as taxes and death, there is no disputing the benefits of getting enough sleep.
Sleeping for nine hours every night does not guarantee protection for disease and illness, but it does go a long way towards bolstering the immune system. Myriad research studies have concluded that sufficient adult sleep prevents, or at least delays, the onset of health problems such as diabetes and heart disease. One of the research studies created an environment that disturbed the sleep patterns of 10 young and healthy adult workers. After only three days, six of the adults returned blood glucose levels that qualified them as pre-diabetic.
Less Dramatic Mood Swings
Do you work with someone that appears euphoric one minute, only to turn into a raging lunatic 60 seconds later. Chances are the mood swing does not result from “that time of the month.” Adults that walk around pallid from lack of sleep also possess pallid dispositions. When you lack sleep, you typically crank up the bad mood meter.
The Best Reason of All
If the question of “Why do adults need sufficient sleep” appeared on the game show Family Feud, few contestants besides the ones with their minds in a gutter would answer the question with “Better sex.” Yet, the National Sleep Foundation reports that more than one-third of the adults surveyed in a recent study said their sex lives suffered because, well, they’re too tired to perform.
How much sleep do adults need: Enough sleep to keep the box of Viagra unopened.