Have you ever met a person who complained that they were getting too much sleep? Yeah, me neither. Although there are probably a lucky few who are getting exactly what they need in terms of shut eye, the rest of us would probably love a little (or a lot) more. If you're trying to figure out how to know how much sleep your individual body needs, it's not always so obvious.
Although you may see a number of studies and reports claiming to have found the magic number for sleep, that info may not actually be right for you. If you're still feeling tired and rundown even after following all the expert guidelines, then you need a new plan. If your schedule is dictated by school, work, kids, or all of the above, getting the right amount of sleep is probably really tough. But not getting enough can have various effects on your overall health and wellness according to Heathline, so it's worth prioritizing. As a person who is chronically ready for a nap I know that's easier said than done, but little changes can mean a big improvement.
Here are seven ways to figure out if how much sleep you need, no matter what the experts say.
1. Don't Assume There's A One-Size-Fits-All Answer
There's not really one magic answer for how much sleep you should get. The Sleep Foundation suggested that adults get anywhere from seven to nine hours of sleep a night, but that's actually a pretty wide range. Some people will need more, and some people will need less. I personally still feel exhausted after seven hours, but for others that might be way too much.
2. Pay Attention To Your Body
If you're feeling tired and lethargic during the day, it's kind of a dead giveaway that you're not getting enough sleep according to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School. It's important to pay attention to your body if it's demanding more sleep— as opposed to like, guzzling caffeine to make it through the day.
3. Keep A Sleep Diary
You may not even realize that the reason you're dragging all day is because you didn't get enough sleep the night before. Medline Plus suggested keeping a sleep diary, to get a sense of how you feel after certain amounts of rest.
4. Assess Your Alarm
If you're starting your day by constantly pressing snooze, it's pretty likely you need to move up your bedtime according to the National Sleep Foundation. Your body's inability to get out of bed is it's way of saying it's just not ready to wake up. Sadly, there's not much respite for this when your alarm clock also happens to be your baby.
5. Go To Bed When You're Tired
It's hard to figure out how much sleep your body actually needs when your schedule is forcing you to keep certain hours. But according to Business Week, it's worth letting your body dictate when to go sleep and wake up, as opposed to the clock. If you have some upcoming time off or a vacation, try to spend it going to bed and waking up whenever your body feels ready. That should tell you how many hours you need in order to feel your best.
6. Figure Out Why You're Waking Up At Night
If you wake up a lot at night, it's important to figure out what your body is trying to tell you. According to the Huffington Post, it may be that you're going to bed too early, or that you've got a sleep condition that's interrupting your rest.
7. Don't Fight Your Instincts
If you're a person who needs closer to eight or nine hours of sleep to feel rested (like me), that's totally fine. Daily Burn noted that you shouldn't try to change your sleep pattern just because you've heard that less sleep would be just as good for you. When it comes to sleep, it's all about being in touch with your body and knowing what makes you feel your best.