Sleep is one of the most important human needs, because without enough sleep it is impossible to function anywhere close to your best. However, there is also a danger of sleeping too much, as oversleeping can have equally as dire consequences as being sleep deficient. The following looks at how much sleep a person needs, and how much is too much.

It Depends on the Person

The amount of sleep that a person needs in order to be healthy and happy is different for everyone, and is related far more to a person’s genetic makeup than to their age or gender. While one person may need 7 hours of sleep each night in order to be operating at their optimum levels, others may need a solid 9 hours of sleep to be at their best. So don’t be too hard on yourself if you consistently wake up feeling tired because your body may simply be designed to need more sleep.

7-8 Hours Sleep in Ideal Conditions

While it has been well established that everyone has their own individual needs when it comes to sleep, a number of studies have looked at how much sleep the average person needs under ideal sleeping conditions. Ideal sleeping conditions include having a decent pillow, a quality mattress and plenty of darkness, and under such conditions several studies have found that 7-8 hours of sleep per night is the perfect amount of sleep in the vast majority of cases.

It Depends on How Much Energy You Have Expended

One of the main things that your body is doing when you are sleeping is attempting to recover and re-energise from the activities of the day; so it makes sense that the more energy you expend during the day the more sleep you will need at night. It can take several days of lengthy sleeps for your body to get all the sleep it needs to recover from a particularly strenuous day.

Follow the Sun

Sleep is one of the most natural of all human activities and it is very much tied to the rising and setting of the sun. When the sun starts to set and the light disappears our brains are triggered to produce the chemical melatonin, making you feel sleepy and facilitating the movement into REM sleep. When the sun starts to rise and the light increases we are awoken as the light and heat intensifies. So if you are looking to get the optimum amount of sleep do your best to follow the sun, because if you go to bed when you are tired and allow yourself to wake up naturally you will likely find that you feel far more rested and energised when you get up each morning.

There are a wide range of factors that can impact the amount of sleep that you may need, ranging from your mattress to your diet or even the state of your mental health, so if you find that you can never seem to get enough sleep it is well worth talking to a medical professional.