Getting (much) less than eight hours of sleep per night on a consistent basis can be negative to your health, but it really comes down to your age and body's response.
We hear it all the time: you need to get eight hours of sleep a night! But is there truth to this? If you are regularly getting less than eight hours of sleep per night, you may be at risk for some negative consequences. However, this issue isn’t as cut-and-dried as people may think.
The amount of sleep a person needs is largely dependant on their age. Babies need the most, followed by children and teenagers, pregnant women, adults, and finally adults aged 65+. Everyone is different, even at the same stage in life, and individual needs will vary. For average adults, though, health risks start to occur once they are consistently getting less than six or seven hours. If this becomes a habit, they may find themselves putting on extra weight, experiencing heart problems, or dying sooner than they may have otherwise. This lack of sleep can also leave them feeling groggy, unmotivated, unable to pay attention, and unable to perform their daily tasks.
This is not to say that the more sleep you get, the healthier you become. In fact, the opposite is true, and many of the issues seen with too little sleep can be seen with too much. Don’t think that you absolutely need eight hours to be healthy. Anywhere from six to nine may be ideal for you. Pay attention to your body and the clues it is giving you. Is your skin looking dull? Are you having trouble concentrating? You may need to get more sleep. Don't overdo it, though!
Possible short-term side effects
- lack of concentration
- difficulty performing tasks
- decreased memory
Possible long-term side effects
- memory / emotional problems
- weight gain
- increased probability of accidents
- early death
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Written by Lindsay | 12-29-2015
Written by Lindsay
Suggest improvement or correction