Sleep is one of the most mysterious human activities, with scientists still looking into why we sleep and how it affects our health. Research into sleep has been going on for centuries, and the data suggests that both too little sleep and too much sleep can have a detrimental effect on human health.
The Evolution of Human Sleep Patterns
Although people are accustomed to have a long period of sleep during the night hours, historians have found many documents from before the 16th century that refer to two periods of nighttime sleep. The “first sleep” began an hour or two after sunset and extended for four hours. People then awoke for a few hours and engaged in reading, writing, praying and other restful activities. They then went back to sleep for a few more hours. It was after cities began lighting their streets with candles or oil lamps that people began to stay awake longer in the evening and engage in a longer period of sleep for the rest of the night. Today, people are encouraged to have eight hours of sleep each night, but many people report sleeping less or more than this amount.
Sleeping Less Than Six Hours
Many people seem to thrive on less than the commonly accepted eight hours of sleep. These people report waking up completely refreshed after only five or six hours. In fact, many people feel that sleep is a waste of time when so many other tasks can be accomplished or enjoyed. Others may suffer from sleep disorders, like snoring and sleep apnea, which prevent them from getting as much sleep as they require. Those experiencing these problems may benefit from using snoring products from Slumberbump and adjusting their sleeping position. Getting less than eight hours of sleep has been associated with increased rates of stress and disease. Lack of sleep can cause number of symptoms, including mood problems, reduced* immunity, weight gain, impaired motor skills, concentration problems and difficulty with problem-solving. Over time, lack of sleep can cause such medical conditions as diabetes, heart problems, and other conditions. You may not notice the gradual signs of sleep deprivation over time, but they can impact your health is significant ways. When you change work schedules frequently, repeatedly disrupting your sleep schedule, it can have a dramatic impact on your health and wellbeing.
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Sleeping Six To Eight Hours
A professor of cardiovascular medicine and epidemiology at the University of Warwick analyzed a number of studies and found that those people who slept between six to eight hours had the lowest risk of death. Those who slept less than six hours each night had a mortality rate of 12 percent while those who slept more than eight hour had a 30 percent mortality rate. This data indicates that the “sweet spot” of six to eight hours can help to protect the body against disease. However, the results of the analysis only apply to adults. Children and teens naturally require greater amounts of sleep for good health because of their faster rates of physical growth and psychological maturation.
Sleeping More than Eight Hours
Sleeping more than eight hours each night is often associated with depression, which can have a bearing on disease resistance. An increased need for sleep can also indicate other underlying conditions that cause increased fatigue and inability to be get refreshed by shorter sleep periods. The need to sleep a longer than average period may be a signal to consult your physician for a thorough check-up.
Must Watch – How Much Sleep Should We Get?
These results suggest that training your body to sleep six to eight hours each night may be the best schedule for optimum health. However, genetics also influence how much sleep each requires to feel rested. Finding the best sleep schedule for your needs may require taking into account both natural patterns and the recommended sleep periods to provide the best health benefits.