One of the more essential daily activities needed is sleeping. Sleep is one of the body’s natural reactions when it is tired and fatigue sets in. Sleep patterns are different from one individual to another; it subsequently varies with age, health status and sometimes culture. Each individual has his or her own biological clock or what is known as “circadian rhythm”. This is how the number of hours of sleep is determined. Humans are “diurnal” creatures; meaning we are meant to perform at our best during the day and rest at night. So when you ask yourself, “How many hours should I sleep?” Let us look at the different sleeping habits of people.
Studies show that on the average, adults do well in daily activities after 7-8 hours of night’s sleep. Some need only 5-6 hours, while others require 10-11 hours before they can work efficiently afterwards.
Newborns are neither diurnal nor nocturnal because of their sleep-wake cycles within a 24-hour period. They usually sleep from 3-4 hours and lay awake for 1-2 hours, before repeating the cycle over. As the child grows through the first year, he sleeps for about 10 hours, usually from 7 pm until 5 am, wakes and move around in the morning, then takes several naps in the early and late afternoon.
Going to ages 4-5, the child’s night time sleep increases to around 11-12 hours, with a single nap sometime in the afternoon. Quick naps disappear by the age of 10 and sleep usually happens between 8-9 pm and extends until 6-7 am.
Sleep in adults range from 5 hours to 10 hours depending on the habits and daily activities of the individual. The recommended number of hours of sleep is around 7 or 8 hours. Individuals who are more senior in years tend to have a shorten span of sleep probably due to sleep disturbance caused by apnea or even muscle and joint pains.
Other factors that may affect the length and quality of sleep include the level of stress, fatigue and overall health issues. Although the need for an afternoon or mid-day nap otherwise known as “siesta” by other cultures is not clear, people who get at least 8 hours of undisturbed sleep will not need a nap within the day.
So if you ask “How many hours should I sleep?” That would depend on the activities that you do during the waking hours, and how your body generally reacts.