How Much Sleep Do You Actually Need?
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How Much Sleep Do You Actually Need?


Tired? We all know the feeling; irritable, groggy and exceptionally lazy. Chances are you didn’t sleep enough last night, or the past few nights. But what exactly is “enough sleep?” And more importantly, can you ever “catch up” on it? While the very function of sleep is still debated by scientists, we do know that it’s necessary to function efficiently and productively. After all, we spend 24 years of our lifetime sleeping, it had better be important. Researchers have tested how much is required each night by assigning groups of people to four, five, and eight hours of sleep over extended periods of time. After 14 days, those with eight hours of sleep exhibited few attention lapses of cognitive issues; however, those with six or four hours of sleep showed a steady decline. In fact, after only two weeks, the six hour group showed a similar reaction time to a person with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.1%, which is considered legally drunk. The four hour sleepers suffered even more, occasionally falling asleep during their cognitive tests. In both groups, brain function decreased day by day, almost linearly with no sign of leveling off. Scientists have dubbed this cumulative effect as sleep debt. So can we recover from it? After a night or two of little sleep, studies show that the body and brain can fully recover with a few nights of good sleep. However, with long term sleep deprivation on the scale of weeks to months, the recovery of cognitive function is much slower, requiring many more nights of quality sleep. On the timescale of months to years, it is unknown whether brain function can be fully repaired, or if it causes permanent damage. Paradoxically, with chronic sleep deprivation, your sleepiness or how tired you feel does eventually level off, meaning that you become less and less aware of your objective impairment over time. So how long should you sleep? Most studies tend to show that seven to eight hours of sleep is the average ideal for humans. Apart from the cognitive issues, individuals who consistently sleep less than seven hours a night have an increased risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes, not to mention a 12% higher risk of death. On the flip side, studies have shown that while sleeping more than eight hours does not impair brain function, it also carries an increased risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes, and a 30% increased risk of mortality! So too much sleep may also be a bad thing. But variation most certainly exists, and our genetics play a large role. In fact, individuals genuinely unaffected by only six hours of sleep were found to have a mutation of a specific gene. When scientists genetically engineered mice to express this gene, they were able to stay awake for an extra 1.2 hours than normal mice. It turns out these short sleepers have more biologically intense sleep sessions than the average person. Ultimately, while it’s important to know the ideal average of seven to eight hours exists, let your body and brain help you figure out its own needs. After all, no one shoe size fits all. If you want to know how to get better quality sleep each night in order to conquer the hurdles of sleep deprivation, we have some tips and research for you over on ASAPThought. You can find a link in the description below to that video. Thanks to Audible.com for giving you a free audio book of your choice at audible.com/asap. Audible is the leading provider of audio books with over 150,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature. We recommend the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series, which the Game of Thrones TV show is based off of. It’s kept us up through the nights and caused a lot of lost sleep! You can download this audio book or another of your choice for free at audible.com/asap. And with a subscription you can get one free book a month, so you can read the whole series! Special thanks to Audible for making these videos possible. And subscribe for more weekly science videos!

100 thoughts on “How Much Sleep Do You Actually Need?

  1. Video: showing you how much sleep you need daily
    Me: watching video for relaxing ok I'm going to bed goodnight

  2. Well in 4 hours I have to get out of the house because someone is coming to look at our house to see if they want to buy it ….

  3. Well i all ready have diabetes i hade it for 3 years and i have school in 7 or 8 days 😭 i can't sleep 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭

  4. I call bullshit on that mutation that allows you to sleep less with no repercussions, I'm sure such ppl exists, but the explanation sounds stupid, a gene codes a protein, a mutated gene codes an slightly different protein, even if the protein is folded differently, the net effect would be the variation in concentration of the original protein or it's absence in favor of a different protein.

    See the problem? if by regulating the concentration of one protein you could just like that cut the sleep requirement of a person by two hours, pharmaceutical companies will go nuts on it, that kind of supplement could potentially become standard around the world.

  5. so if you sleep at
    9:00pm wake up at 5:00am
    10:00pm wake up at 6:00am
    11:00pm wake up at 7:00am
    12:00am wake up at 8:00am
    1:00am wake up at 9:00am
    2:00am wake up at 10:00am
    3:00am wake up at 11:00am
    4:00am wake up at 12:00pm
    5:00am wake up at 1:00pm
    6:00am wake up at 2:00pm
    7:00am wake up at 3:00pm
    8:00am wake up at 4:00pm

  6. Guys i have an idea for you who wanna get a good sleeping routine sleep at 9 o clock and wake at 4:30 that’s mean you can have 7:30 hours of sleep also 2 hours till the bus arrive you can work out or study

  7. This video made me scared because I can’t sleep good ever.he said you get diabetes and heart desires and that scares me. Instead of listing reasons how you can die, which make ppl stressed to the point where they are so stressed they can’t sleep, maybe list encouraging reasons.

  8. And I sleep 12 hours normally even when I'm not really tired, and some days i slept more than 13 hours maybe, I can sleep whole day and whole night if want to, and I can be waken up for 2 days without sleep (I didn't try more) it's just when I sleep more I become more sleepy and when I sleep less I become more sleepless! And I think I'm fine and healthy 🤔

  9. Less than 7 or 8 hours gives a 12% of chance death but more than 7 or 8 hours gives a 30% higher chance of death. Time to sleep for 12 hours

  10. Well my usual sleep per night is 5-4 hours (in school days) but when I can’t sleep it’s usually 3-0,5 hours
    I‘m still living

  11. Ok so I am going to sleep at 10 waking up at 2 going back to sleep at 3 and getting up at five so I only sleep for 5 hours every night fun I am always tired but then at night nope I can run a marathon

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  13. I have i somia i cant sleep till 4 or 5 am and I wake up at 7 am to go to school I mean I go to school till 3 pm and come home I can't do my homeworks I just fall asleep in xoursew

  14. "Over 8 hrs is even worse"
    Is somebody inferring an erroneous causation from a correlation?
    Do these folks get obese, diabetic and die more BECAUSE THEY SLEEP MORE or is it that they are sicker than average in the first place and therefore need more time to RESTORE THEIR ENERGY? Will those oversleeping ppl be healthier if they forced themselves to sleep less? I doubt that.

  15. Scientists: Get 7-8 hours of sleep, cuz less then 7 hours DEATH and more then 8 hours, *DEATH*.
    Me: how about 1……..

    Week.

  16. I'm lucky my school starts at 9am. On a really hard day of homework, I finish at half 10 (bedtime is 10). As a result, I get 9 hours of sleep. After that, straight to bed, no phone and sleep

  17. man,if i dont get JUST THE RIGHT AMOUNT down to the minute….i feel like shit all day..sleep 6 hours,i feel like a zombie cause didnt sleep enough.sleep 8 hours,feel like a zombie cause i slept too much…has to be 7 or bust

  18. I sometimes sleep 4-6 hours for exams and with lots of coffee I stay awake
    normaly I sleep about 10 hours and feel tired and unmotivated
    8-9 hours don't get me energized
    I have to try it for 7 hours
    I hate the number 7 but anyways

  19. Me watching this at 1 am knowing I have to get up at 6am tomorrow (or today?): Hmmmm

    I got used to staying up till 2am over the long weekend

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