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The Skinny On: Sleep Needs

I've heard I need 8 hours, 7 hours, 10 hours, take naps, don't take naps, sleep in, go to be early - so what's the deal sleep?

The answer is unfortunately a little vague - individual needs vary. There are short-sleepers and long sleepers. Some people can function on 5 hours of sleep a night, while others need at least 9 or they're useless. How much sleep you need depends on a few things:

  • Genetics
  • What you do during the day - Do you drink coffee or alcohol? Do you smoke? Do you exercise?
  • The quality of your sleep - Do you toss and turn all night? Does it take you a long time to fall asleep? Are you a light or deep sleeper?
  • Your personal circadian rhythm (your inner clock)

You should get enough sleep each night so you wake up feeling rested and have enough energy to last until bedtime.

Not getting enough good quality sheet time reduces daytime alertness and could impair memory as well as the ability to think and process information. Think about the possible accidents that could occur by being too sleepy to function - if it gets to this point, be sure to catch a quick nap or get to bed a couple of hours earlier to catch up on your sleep.

Fit's Tips: If you have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, and have tried every insomnia remedy in the book, you may want to see your doctor to find out what you can do to help get your zzzzzz's.

Nightfire Nightfire 10 years
Great info on sleep. It's true it's not the quantity of sleep you attain at night, it's the quality. I know people who sleep for just 5 hours a night and work in very demanding jobs and they're always looking great. On the other side, someone might sleep for 14 hours and still feel exhausted. For more infomation on sleep, please visit
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 10 years
I love to sleep, and whatever my schedule is like I try to get as much as I can. I just slept from 8pm to 8am three nights ago. Oh, was it f-a-n-t-a-s-t-i-c..... I've also found that whenever I'm faced with a problem, sleeping on it really works. Getting a good night's rest helps me clear my head and the next day all the answers I need come to me. I can't praise the wonders of the subconcious mind enough.
scratch5 scratch5 10 years
my kids wake me up and then I try to get them to snuggle - kinda like snooze. Bonne - what do you mean by "working thirds"?
cravinsugar cravinsugar 10 years
Purplesugar i am the same! I can go to bed early, set the alarm for 5:30 which will giv eme 8 hours of sleep, but i STILL can't wake up! even after 9! arg. I set two alarms to go off at 4 different times and I snooze everysingle one of them every 5 minutes until i am almost running late but not quite. I'm all in.
honeysugar28 honeysugar28 10 years
I can't go to bed early either!!! Which makes it hard for me to wake up early. But if I go to bed early I'll wake up in the middle of the night and I can't go back to sleep at all!!!
purplesugar purplesugar 10 years
mornings suck for me too....I need LOTS of sleep, but I need it in the morning. I'd rather stay up late and then sleep as late as possible because even if I go to bed early I still can't get out of bed in the morning. unfortunately, that doesn't work out well when I have a job to get to...
Beaner Beaner 10 years
I have to snooze AT LEAST 4 times. Need to ease into wakefullness, ya know?
justjaime27 justjaime27 10 years
lol I could sleep allll day, alllll night, if given the opportunity! lol :) I love sleeping. Don't worry, I don't sleep my days away. I am a terrible morning person though. I seriously need to chill out over coffee when I wake up in the am, for at least a half hour, otherwise I can't function at it's TRUE! One morning, I went to the store, right after I woke up, because I needed coffee, feminine products, lol and a few other things. I literally JUST woke up, and walked out the door, drove to the corner (, bought my items, paid for them, and left. Got home to realize I paid for my items but left my entire bag of items I bought at the store!!! Another time, I got up early, went to pay the parking meter, as I do every morning. Though this morning I didn't have time to have coffee first, I'd overslept, and didn't want a parking ticket, so RAN downstairs...paid the meter, went back to bed. Later realized that day that I had paid the WRONG PARKING METER!!! I got a ticket. lol See? Can't function right after I wake :ROTFL: Mornings suck.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 10 years
Hm. well, i woke up this morning snozing until the last possible second. I am adding anew resolution to my list...only hitting the snooze button once a day! I'm all in.
Bonne Bonne 10 years
Ever since I've been working thirds - I've been sleeping better. Usually I'll crash between 5 to 12 hours and I always wake up with no alarm and completely refreshed.
colormesticky colormesticky 10 years
I either need 4 hours or 9. Nothing else will do it for me, and I can only do 4 hours for a few nights before I crash. I'm a crazy light sleeper and I need over an hour to fall asleep. Drives me crazy, although I'm learning to enjoy kind of daydreaming at night while I try to fall asleep.
flutterpie flutterpie 10 years
i need at least 8 hours a night unfortunately i get 5-7. im lucky though i dont have a certain time to go into work i know he thinks you're fine and stuff but does he know how to wind you up?
atoxicsparkle atoxicsparkle 10 years
:Rotfl: I feel like all the sugars are speaking to me today. Fab letting me know to slow my make-up purchases before all my stuff goes bad, Fit telling me to stop staying on here until 4 a.m. I do need to stop though, as soon as I get a job, I'm going to be so out of whack!
cravinsugar cravinsugar 10 years
Wow. On the weekend i always wake up by like, 7. I hate it. although I have been told not to do anything about it as getting more sleep than usual will cocmpletely screw up my cycle and then on Monday I will be tired again. speaking of sleep, I am 30 minutes over due. good night all! I'm all in.
rubialala rubialala 10 years
I can't drink any caffeine after lunch or I'm flying around the house cleaning and organizing all night. I LOVE sleep. I take naps on the weekends and I sleep at least 8 hours and usually more every night. It's like a hobby for me, one that I wish I could spend more time doing. If there was a job that paid me to sleep (i.e., like a medical study), I would do it in a heartbeat! My husband is a short sleeper. He stays up at night sometimes until midnight and then he gets up a 6 and he's fine. He used to require even less sleep but then we had a kid and now our son really steals our energy and we both have needed more sleep each night since he's been born! :ZZZ:
cravinsugar cravinsugar 10 years
Well, my sleeping habits are getting better...I only wake up 2-3 times a night now instead of 7. I needed a softer, new matress. Also, I quit drinking cafffeine compeltely. According to my doc, just one cup a day is enough to messup your "rythym". I need to exercise more, but I am happy that I am where i am now. of course, I wake up at 5 not trying to wide awake, but I go back to sleep of course until 6:30 and then can't wake up and am tired all morning... I'm all in.
sashak sashak 10 years
I have wretched sleep issues. I get them from my mom & don't exersice near enough. I rememer the 1st night I couldn't fall alseep, I though I was going to die it was so terrible. Meletonin is a good herbal short term fix it.
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