Menstuff® has compiled the following information on Sleep. See also Sleepapnea

Sleep Myths: The value of 40 winks and other shuteye scoops
How Much You Sleep Affects Your Risk of Stroke
How Much Sleep Is Too Much Sleep?
What do doctors mean when they say "get plenty of sleep"? How many hours of sleep are enough for good health?
For Women, a Drink at Bedtime Can Deepen Sleep
Lying Awake at Night? Test Your Sleep IQ
Quick Quiz: Is Lack of Sleep Hurting Your Job Performance?
Related Story: The Best Cities for Good Sleep
Sleep Makes a Huge Difference in Your Life!
Tired All the Time?How Much You Sleep Affects Your Risk of Stroke
How Much Sleep Is Too Much Sleep?

How Much You Sleep Affects Your Risk of Stroke

A new study of 200,000 Americans has found that if somebody has high blood pressure – a condition that affects one third of the country – their risk of stroke is significantly affected by how much they sleep.

Specifically, people who sleep less than 5 hours per night and more than 8 hours per night were found to have an 83 percent and 74 percent higher risk of stroke, respectively.

Most strokes are triggered by a blood clot in the brain, and they’re relatively common: about 800,000 people each year have a stroke in the U.S., and it’s a leading cause of disability. So what can you do to minimize your risk?

How Much Sleep Is Too Much Sleep?

Sleep Needs Vary for Everyone

Although most people should be concerned about not sleeping enough, you may wonder: How much sleep is too much sleep?

First, it is important to determine how much you sleep you need, which can be accomplished with a simple experiment. Individual sleep needs are largely determined by genetics, but other factors may include your general health and even your age. Most adults need 7.5 to 8.5 hours of sleep per night.

When you get less than the sleep you need, you begin to experience sleep deprivation. With chronic loss of sleep you may gradually accumulate a sleep debt. You may experience excessive daytime sleepiness and you may find yourself taking frequent, prolonged naps or sleeping more on the weekends.

But, ultimately, how much sleep is too much? If you are a long-sleeper based on your genetics, you may sleep 8 to 10 or more hours a day to feel rested. Just as there are exceptional people who can get by on 4 hours of sleep per night, other people may require 12 hours, though both scenarios are rare.

If your personal sleep needs have changed dramatically, or if you suffer from symptoms of sleep disorders such as feeling too sleepy, you may wish to speak with your doctor or a sleep specialist. Certain medical conditions such as hypothyroidism or depression may leave you sleeping too much and these may require treatment.

For those who have always required a little extra sleep than average, there is no reason for feeling guilty about sleeping too much.

It’s not too much; it’s just what you need.

Sleep Myths: The value of 40 winks and other shuteye scoops

Is the power nap really powerful? Can we make up for lost sleep by sacking out on Saturday? Read on.

Do we really need eight hours of sleep per night?

Not necessarily, but that’s the average for healthy adults. According to the National Institutes of Health, when healthy adults are given unlimited opportunity to sleep they are on the pillow eight to eight-and-a-half hours a night. Most sleep experts recommend between seven and nine hours to be at one’s optimum performance mentally and physically.

The amount of sleep needed to be at one’s best is called “basal sleep” time. Basal sleep is forever in competition with “sleep debt,” which is the total sleep we lose due to certain sleep disorders, restless partners or screaming infants (but parents cherish every waking moment … right?). We constantly need basal sleep to pay down our sleep debt.

Most people have an innate sense of whether they’re getting enough shut-eye (for a quick evaluation of your own sleep status, check out the Epworth Sleepiness Scale ). According to the Sleep In America poll, Americans in 2005 averaged almost seven hours per night, while back in 1910 we averaged nine hours. What would you give up for an extra two hours of sleep tonight?

Can we catch up on sleep during the weekend? Is this healthy?

Yes, you can effectively catch up on sleep—and no, it’s not particularly healthy.

The body and brain share a remarkable ability to recover when we don’t treat them as well as we should. When you skimp on sleep, you miss more of the REM cycles that keep the brain’s memory, concentration, motor skills, and emotional controls in good working order. That’s why someone on three hours’ sleep can stay awake but is more likely to fumble the car keys or put on shoes that don’t match. Nonetheless, the brain will reset itself after a good night’s sleep.

Though the body is resilient as well, all of its major systems require the slowed pace and reduction of stimuli that come with adequate rest. As the National Sleep Foundation describes in Sleep-Wake Cycle: Its Physiology and Impact on Health, scientists believe the body repairs itself during sleep with a number of biochemical and physiological processes, and that without restorative sleep our systems become more vulnerable. A 2002 study, for example, showed that sleep helps fortify the immune system: When flu shots were administered to two groups of men, those who slept normally for 10 nights in a row had twice as many flu-fighting antibodies as those who slept just four hours per night.

Dr. Michael Twery, director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, offers additional words of warning: “Recent findings indicate that regularly sleeping less than seven hours each night is associated with potentially serious health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.”

As we age do we really require less sleep to function properly?

The blissful 12- or 14-hour snoozes we needed as infants certainly curtail over the years, and once past the teen years our sleep requirements level out. The more significant change for the elderly is not in the total hours needed—at seven to nine hours, their requirements are on a par with young adults—but in the quality of nighttime rest they’re actually able to get.

“Older people don’t need less sleep, but they often get less sleep,” Twery says. “As people age, they spend less time in the deep, restful stages of sleep and are awakened more easily. Older people are more likely to have sleep apnea, insomnia, and other medical conditions that disrupt sleep and impair daytime function.”

Many elderly people will drift off throughout the day to make up for lost sleep time. If your grandmother gets a full eight hours, some may come at night, some after lunch, and some while playing canasta.

Do naps help?

If we really believed that life’s most valuable lessons were learned in kindergarten, we’d all be eating more cookies and taking more naps. Our grown-up culture generally frowns on the notion of daytime sleeping, but 15 or 20 minutes of shut-eye can help make up for a sleepless night and provide a freshness and clarity that seldom comes in the last few hours at work. Resting too long or too late in the day, however, can defeat the benefits by leaving the catnapper groggy in the afternoon and sleepless again at night.

Workers in Latin America, as in many hot climes, are known to appreciate the value of a siesta whereas gringos seem unwilling to trade dollars for Z’s. In February 2007, a study favoring the midday nap was published by doctors from Greece, another warm and sunny climate. After studying 23,861 subjects for more than six years, the researchers found compelling evidence that napping has quantifiable health benefits for everyone, especially working men. They concluded that people who napped occasionally were 12 percent less likely to die of heart disease. Moreover, those who regularly took half-hour naps three times per week had at least 37 percent lower risk of death by heart disease.

Though you may have difficulty convincing your boss that an afternoon nap would be great for your health and your productivity, putting your head down for a few minutes is not a bad idea at all. Cookies wouldn’t hurt, either.
Source: By Rich Maloof,

What do doctors mean when they say "get plenty of sleep"? How many hours of sleep are enough for good health?


The amount of sleep you need depends on many factors, especially your age. Newborns sleep between 16 and 18 hours a day and preschool children should sleep between 10 and 12 hours. Older children and teens need at least nine hours to be well rested. For most adults, seven to eight hours a night appears to the best amount of sleep. However, for some people, "enough sleep" may be as few as five hours or as many as 10 hours of sleep.

As you get older, your sleeping patterns change. Older adults tend to sleep more lightly and awaken more frequently in the night than younger adults. This can have many causes including medical conditions and medications used to treat them. But there's no evidence that older adults need less sleep than younger adults.

Getting enough sleep is important to your health because it boosts your immune system, which makes your body better able to fight disease. Sleep is necessary for your nervous system to work properly. Too little sleep makes you drowsy and unable to concentrate. It also impairs memory and physical performance.

So how many hours of sleep are enough for you? Experts say that if you feel drowsy during the day — even during boring activities — you are not getting enough sleep. Also, quality of sleep is just as important as quantity. People whose sleep is frequently interrupted or cut short are not getting quality sleep.

If you experience frequent daytime sleepiness, even after increasing the amount of quality sleep you get, talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to identify the cause of sleep problems and offer advice on how to get a better night's sleep.

For Women, a Drink at Bedtime Can Deepen Sleep

Brown University researchers reported that women who consumed two or three alcoholic drinks within an hour of bedtime experienced more intense sleep.

Lying Awake at Night? Test Your Sleep IQ

If you're having trouble sleeping, you're not alone. Millions of Americans don't get enough ZZZ’s. But when is sleeplessness a problem? Take this quick quiz to see if you need a doctor's help.

Sleep Makes a Huge Difference in Your Life!

Sleep affects every part of your being, from your mental health to your sex life. Are you having trouble sleeping? Should you seek medical help? Take this quiz to help you find out.

Quick Quiz: Is Lack of Sleep Hurting Your Job Performance?


Related Story: The Best Cities for Good Sleep

The top metro areas for good sleep:

1. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.
2. Anaheim, Calif.
3. San Diego, Calif.
4. Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C.
5. Washington, D.C.
6. Bergen-Passaic, NC
7. Chicago
8. Boston
9. Austin, Texas
10. Kansas City, Mo.

The 10 cities with most sleep problems:

1. Detroit
2. Cleveland
3. Nashville, Tenn.
4. Cincinnati
5. New Orleans
6. New York
7. Las Vegas
8. Miami
9. San Francisco
10. St. Louis


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