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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.

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