Growing up, I have always heard different amounts of hours that is recommended to get what is considered a good or complete night’s sleep.This person says no more than 3, while he says 6, and she says around a full 9 type of thing. I want to get to the bottom of this, how much sleep do we actually need per night to have a productive next day and why?
The National Sleep Foundation’s website, that I found through this article in the Huffington Post, actually comes right out with a list of recommended hours for people depending on their ages. For us in the young adults category (18-25), there is no specific number of hours but a range 7 to 9 hours that is considered a full night’s sleep. The same article, actually goes on to list 6 different ways that sleep benefits your mental health but for the purpose of my blog, I will only use 3 that are mentioned. The first point, states that a lack of sleep will increase the probability that one will inherit increased risks for further health problems. It is further explained in an article linked to the previous, nearly 50-70 million Americans are living with chronic sleep disorders. These sleep disorders causing a lack of sleep, or causing abnormal sleeping periods, as mentioned, will increase your risk for various health problems ranging from hypertension to stroke.
The second mental effect in the Huffington Post article is that sleep can improve your memory. The article leads to another, that should pertain more to us college students because it states that looking over your notes before you go to sleep on the night before the exam, might help you perform when it comes time to take the test. Members who participated in a study were told that they would need to remember a certain list of made-up words and must be able to present that list the next day, after what is considered to be more than enough time to sleep (12 hours). The study proved that the subjects who received a full night of sleep, had a higher ability to remember what their words were opposed to the subjects who chose to stay awake.
The third mental effect mentioned in the article is that a proper amount of sleep can help you keep your emotions intact. A source I found inside the main article, for this study, the effects of sleep were measured using MRI and EEG machines. The subjects were participating in a challenge to complete various tasks that would test their cognitive abilities. Emotional distractors were incorporated into the challenges to see how the subjects would react. Due to the fact that the emotional distractors were placed in the study, this would force the subjects to have to attempt to keep their emotions in check. The machines showed that the sleep deprived subjects had exhibited a decline in their ability to connect and decipher various emotional distractors to the adaptation process that would require them to keep their emotions under their control.
For my question, how much sleep do we need to be productive?, I also wanted to look at possible physical side effects of sleep. Or as talked about in this article, a lack thereof. Common sense will tell us that to have a truly productive day, not only do you need your head but also your body. The article I found shows the relationship between sleep and neuromuscular function. The article states that sleep deprivation can lead to muscular weakness by having a negative effect on our Central Nervous System. It negatively effects our CNS by causing a slight delay in the time that it takes for information to be processed from the brain to our muscles. Unfortunately, I was not able to find specific studies that could follow up with what I learned in this current article. I wanted to find a study that would show statistics of how the negative effects on our CNS work. I wanted stats that showed exactly how delayed the process would be for the average person who only received 3 hours or 4 hours of sleep, opposed to a person who received the recommended amount of 7 to 9 hours with little to no delay to the CNS.
In conclusion, I quickly was able to see that based off my age, I need to get a recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night in order to maximize my productivity for the next day.