You can’t open a magazine or newspaper without hearing about the latest celebrity health fad – whether it’s a new diet craze (pureed baby food anyone?!) or bird poo injections to keep skin youthful – but did you know that Mariah Carey swears by 15 hours of sleep a night to be in peak performance?
Now there is no ‘magic number’ for sleep but that is quite a lot! While everyone’s requirements are different (some of us cope far better on less than others and Martha Stewart was reported as saying she sleeps less than 5 hours a night because “there’s not enough time in the day.”), there is a fairly general consensus that around seven to eight hours is the average. If you’re getting a little less, there’s probably no need to lose sleep over it, but a lot less is a problem.
Regularly getting less than six hours a night is a no-go and there is research out there that has found that those who frequently get fewer than six hours a night are at significantly increased risk of stroke and heart disease, with evidence that not sleeping enough may ramp up the ‘fight or flight’ response to stress, releasing hormones that speed up heart rate and raise blood pressure.
Not only is there increased health risks with routinely sleeping less than six hours but research has also shown it impacts on attention, concentration and memory in most people.
Dr Sean Drummond, a psychologist at the University of California, San Diego, insists that most people need between seven and nine hours sleep every day. His 2010 study found one in 20 needs more than nine hours, while only one in 50 can cope happily on fewer than six hours.
How many hours of sleep do you get a night? Are you one of the few who sleeps less than six hours and manages? Could you sleep 15 hours a night like Mariah? I’m not sure I would, even if I could, to be honest!
For more advice on getting a good night’s sleep – whether it’s tackling your sleep environment, dealing with stress or simply the need to replace your bed – take a look at our brand new sleep leaflet – The Good-Night Guide – here.