Some people need more. Some need less. Some seem to need hardly at all. Scientists now say, however, that they’ve found the “perfect” amount of sleep to keep you healthy.
The study, published in the journal Sleep, used the data from more than 3,500 men and women collected from a Finnish health survey. The sleep data included information about participants’ quantity and quality of sleep, whether they had any sleep disorders, and how tired they were during the day. Researchers also looked at how often subjects took days off from work.
The women in the study who took the fewest sick days slept, on average, 7.6 hours per night. The men who called in sick the least slept an average of 7.8 hours each night. Those who got more or less than the those amounts had an increased risk for sickness absence: up to eight more sick days per year. The researchers also found a few more interesting patterns: The male participants reported using sleeping pills more often and experiencing less sleep than their female counterparts, while the women reported experiencing a greater effect of the seasons on their sleep duration.
It should be noted, however, that quality of sleep is just as important as quantity. Uninterrupted sleep is key. If you’re waking several times per night and are unable to get back to sleep, check your sleep environment. A cool, quiet room and a bed with a quality pillow and mattress are very important. If your bedding is getting old and worn out (pillows should be replaced each year) check out our recommended bedding products for ideas.