|March 27, 2024

How Much Sleep Is Enough? How Much Is Too Much?

By Bulletproof Staff
Reviewed by Theresa Greenwell for Scientific Accuracy on 03/27/2024

How Much Sleep Is Enough? How Much Is Too Much?

  • How much sleep do adults need? It’s not necessarily 8 hours.
  • Benefits of sleep include better skin, improved coordination and increased problem-solving skills.
  • Need help getting better sleep? Try our Bulletproof tips and tricks, like avoiding blue light after dark or trying melatonin gummies.

How much sleep do you need? Most people think 8 hours of sleep per night is the magic number.

But it’s not that simple. Not only do you have to consider the number of hours depending on your needs, but also the quality of your sleep. Plus, other factors affect how much you need, like stress, lifestyle and health.

Even though how much sleep you need is up for debate, one thing is for sure: The benefits of sleep are far-reaching. Getting quality sleep helps you recharge your batteries, heal your body and get ready for the day ahead.

Read on to learn how much sleep you need based on your age, the benefits of sleep and how to improve sleep quality for optimal rest. On average, you will spend a third of your life asleep. You might as well make the most of it.

How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?

Woman sleeping face-down on bed

The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults 18 to 64 years old need around 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.[1] For older adults, the recommended average drops to 7 to 8 hours. You probably already know your magic number to wake up feeling refreshed and the least amount you need before brain fog and low energy take over.

How much deep sleep do you need? In an average 7 hours of sleep, you only need about 1.5 to 2 hours of deep sleep.[2] If you’re woken up during this stage, you’ll be disoriented for a moment and could take some time for your brain fog to clear.

How much REM sleep do you need? REM, or rapid eye moment, is the stage of sleep for dreaming and brain development. Generally, you average a total of 2 hours per night.[3]

Recent scientific findings show some people are natural short sleepers (NSS). This means that they can sleep 4 to 6 hours a day without any negative impacts.[4] This lucky group sleeps less than average due to a mutation in their genes.[5] Imagine what you could do with all that extra time.

For most of us though, we have to prioritize sleep to make sure our mind and body has enough time to recharge. And it’s worth it. There are so many ways that sleep can help improve your quality of life and even help prevent health issues.

Mental and Physical Benefits of Sleep

Man wearing blue shirt jogging outside

Doctors, health experts, and athletes agree that getting consistent, quality sleep is critical. Here are some top benefits of sleep:

The Mental Benefits

Beyond simply feeling refreshed, quality sleep plays a crucial role in promoting optimal brain function.

Better Motor Skills

Sleep makes the connections in your brain stronger and more stable, especially for harder tasks you’ve learned.[6] This process enhances motor memory and performance, leading to improved coordination and movements.

Creative Problem-Solving

Sleep enhances memory consolidation and cognitive processing. This allows the brain to organize information more effectively.[7] During sleep, the brain reorganizes and connects pieces of information. This, in turn, leads to insights and creative solutions to problems you encountered when you were awake.

Mental Well-Being

Quality sleep may have a positive effect on mood.[8] This is because it regulates levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. You need these to regulate your emotions. Treating sleep disturbances like insomnia can go a long way in making you feel better.

The Physical Benefits

While you sleep, your body heals itself. Quality sleep offers many physical benefits that are essential for health and well-being.

Skin Health

Beauty sleep is no myth. Losing out on even one good night’s sleep can decrease skin elasticity, resulting in more aggravated wrinkles and skin texture.[9] Make sure you get enough shuteye to support your skin health and put forward a youthful appearance.

Athletic Performance

Better sleep supports improved physical strength, speed and reaction time.[10] Getting enough rest can help you optimize your training routine. And not only does sleep play an important role in physical performance, but it can also help reduce the risk of injury.

Regulates Hormones

Good sleep helps regulate hormones like cortisol, which governs stress response. It also helps regulate leptin and ghrelin, which control appetite.[11] Getting enough sleep ensures your body releases and regulates these hormones properly. That means a healthier metabolism, appetite control and stress management.

If you’re not making sleep a priority in your wellness routine, make a change today and feel the difference. Next, discover some easy ways to get better rest to feel your best.

How to Get Better Sleep

Focus on building good sleep habits to reach your sleep goals. For example, limit screen time, get regular exercise and have a consistent bedtime routine.

For the days when life gets in the way, here are some tips that might come in handy:

Sleep plays a critical role in every aspect of your health. It boosts immune function, enhances cognitive performance and supports physical recovery. By making necessary adjustments to your sleep habits, you can unlock the full potential of your body and mind.

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