How Much Sleep Do You Need?

It’s Monday morning, and many of us would probably rather be in bed right now. In fact, sleep is an essential part of daily life, and most adults don’t get enough. Six to eight hours of restful sleep is necessary for both physical and mental health, but a large portion of the population is actually sleep deprived.

Insomnia comes in two varieties: primary and secondary. Secondary insomnia is the most common form, and it’s caused by external factors such as caffeine, co-existing medical conditions, poor sleeping habits, and more. Primary insomnia is its own medical condition and cannot be attributed to external physical, mental or environmental factors. In either case, prolonged periods of sleeplessness can create a vicious cycle of anxiety, tension, stress, and depression.

There is a very small portion of the population, perhaps one out of one hundred individuals, who require very little sleep. This group is referred to as “short sleepers,” and these energetic folks can cruise through a day on just a few hours of sleep every night. And while many of us think (or wish) we were in that class, very few people can function on four or five hours of sleep every night.

Lack of sleep can be more than merely frustrating. It can be dangerous. Driving while drowsy can increase the risk of an auto accident. Sleeplessness has also been associated with diabetes and obesity. Practice healthy sleeping habits – there’s more to it than you might think – to avoid these hazards.

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