How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?

Very interesting. Seems less can be more… I know a lot of Internet peeps have trouble sleeping!!

Scripps Clinic is part of the hospital system I work for! πŸ™‚

How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?

By LAURA BLUE Tue Jun 10, 4:00 PM ET

Sleep is one of the richest topics in science today: why we need it, why it can be hard to get, and how that affects everything from our athletic performance to our income. Daniel Kripke, co-director of research at the Scripps Clinic Sleep Center in La Jolla, Calif., has looked at the most important question of all. In 2002, he compared death rates among more than 1 million American adults who, as part of a study on cancer prevention, reported their average nightly amount of sleep. To many his results were surprising, but they've since been corroborated by similar studies in Europe and East Asia. Kripke explains.

Q: How much sleep is ideal?

A: Studies show that people who sleep between 6.5 hours and 7.5 hours a night, as they report, live the longest. And people who sleep 8 hours or more, or less than 6.5 hours, they don't live quite as long. There is just as much risk associated with sleeping too long as with sleeping too short. The big surprise is that long sleep seems to start at 8 hours. Sleeping 8.5 hours might really be a little worse than sleeping five.

Morbidity, [or sickness,] is also "U-shaped," in the sense that both very short sleep and very long sleep are associated with many illnesses – with depression, with obesity, and therefore with heart disease and so forth. But the [ideal amount of sleep] for different health measures isn't all in the same place. Most of the "low points" are at seven or eight hours, but there are some at six and some even at nine. I think diabetes is lowest in seven-hour sleepers, [for example]. But these measures aren't as clear as the mortality data.

I think we can speculate [about why people who sleep 6.5 to 7.5 hours live longer], but we have to admit that we don't really understand the reasons. We don't really know yet what is cause and what is effect. So we don't know if a short sleeper can live longer by extending their sleep, and we don't know if a long sleeper can live longer by setting the alarm clock a bit earlier. We're hoping to organize tests of those questions.

One of the reasons I like to publicize these facts is that I think we can prevent a lot of insomnia and distress just by telling people that short sleep is OK. We've all been told you ought to sleep eight hours, but there was never any evidence. A very common problem we see at sleep clinics is people who spend too long in bed. They think they should sleep eight hours or nine hours, so they spend eight or nine hours in bed, with the result that they have trouble falling asleep and they wake up a lot during the night. Oddly enough, a lot of the problem [of insomnia] is lying in bed awake worrying about it. There have been many controlled studies in the United States, Great Britain and other parts of Europe that show that an insomnia treatment that involves getting out of bed when you're not sleepy, and restricting your time in bed, actually helps people to sleep more. They get over their fear of the bed. They get over the worry, and they become confident that when they go to bed they will sleep. So spending less time in bed actually makes sleep better. It is in fact a more powerful and effective long-term treatment for insomnia than sleeping pills. View this article on

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About mikeymikez

Interested in music, film, good books and Korean culture.
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10 Responses to How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?

  1. Virna says:

    Yay! I sleep 7 hrs. everyday!

  2. Simple says:

    good to know. i need to change my sleeping habit then.i want to live longer.

  3. greywolf says:

    I did a paper on sleep for a psychology class back in the early 90's and saw some similar conclusions. I usually get 6-7 hrs per night and I feel a little sluggish if I ever get 8 or more hrs, which is very rare.

  4. Mikey says:

    That's very interesting to know! I love to sleep… maybe more than is good! πŸ˜›

  5. Mikey says:

    I set your backasswards alarm clock for you! They need to develop alarm that know when you actually fall asleep and gives you 7 hours from that point! ^^

  6. Mikey says:

    Excellent! Hope you live long time! ❀

  7. DoriDori says:

    I was reading this article last night tooI always sleep more than 8 hours nowadaysI wanna live longerI should cut it down…

  8. Mikey says:

    Move over, I want to sleep too! :PI love to sleep, but you know how lazy I am!!

  9. funkyglasses says:

    Oh my god, I sleep a lot………… maybe I am sick.

  10. Mikey says:

    Sick like me! πŸ˜‰ Nice luxurious bed… Priceless!! ^^

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