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How To Tell If You Are Getting Enough Sleep

How to determine if you are getting enough sleep.

Everyone has heard that the ideal amount of sleep is 8 hours every night. The truth is everyone is different. Some people function just fine on as little as 4-5 hours of sleep. On the other hand, there are just as many people out there who sleep 9-10 hours every night. So knowing how much sleep you need as an individual is the most important factor in determining if you are or aren’t getting enough sleep.

How much sleep are you getting now?
The first step is to determine exactly how much sleep you are currently getting. Most people tend to think, “I go to sleep at this time and I wake up at this time, so I got this amount of sleep.” It’s not that simple, as there’s the time it takes you to fall asleep and it also does not count the number of times you wake up or amount of time you were awake before going back to sleep. Once you factor that time in, the 8 hours you thought you got may be more like 6 or 7 hours.

Is it enough sleep for you?
There’s a short test you can take that will determine if you are getting less than your ideal amount of sleep. Ask yourself the following questions; Do I need an alarm clock to wake up at the right time? Do I have trouble getting out of bed every morning? Do I get tired quickly when driving? Do I have trouble remembering things or concentrating? Do I fall asleep as soon as I get in bed? If you answer yes to any of these questions, then you are not getting enough sleep.

Determine if you are getting enough sleep.
On average most people need to get another hour to an hour and a half more sleep than they are currently getting. You can determine this by going to bed around a time you normally can fall asleep that is close to 8 hours before you need to be up. Stick to going to bed around this time and take note of when you wake up. You may wake up early for a few days because you are used to the shorter sleeping schedule, but if you aren’t getting enough sleep, you will begin to sleep longer. Once you start sleeping longer start going to bed 30 minutes earlier for a week, then 15 minutes earlier the next week. Keep adding 15 minutes a week until you are able to wake up when you need to and have energy through the whole day. You can also make sure you have the correct amount of sleep each night by going to bed 15-30 minutes late one night, and see if you feel drowsy the next day, if you do, you know you are getting the right amount of sleep.1

In conclusion
If you are one of the lucky few that are consistently getting the proper sleep they need to make it through the day alert, focused, and in the proper mood, congratulations. Share your suggestions, methods, or tips for how you get the right amount of sleep in the comments.

1. Maas, Dr. James B., Megan L. Wherry, David J Axelrod, Barbara R. Hogan, and Jennifer A. Blumin. Power Sleep: The Revolutionary Program That Prepares Your Mind for Peak Performance. New York : Villard, 1998.

18 Comments Post a comment
  1. Great article…thank so much for the information!

    February 3, 2012
  2. I need about 8 hours of sleep and I can usually find the time for it. However I am a flight attendant and I have a lot of trouble with jetlag. If it weren’t for that I would be a sound sleeper all the time. I always was before. I have tried a lot of different techniques and nothing seems to work perfectly. Now I just try and sleep when I am tired, daytime or nighttime. That’s the price I pay for having such an amazing job.

    February 3, 2012
  3. I think I need more sleep, I fall asleep almost immediately

    February 3, 2012
  4. I don’t let the TV run all night and we keep the room at 64 degrees(I sleep with socks on because my feet get cold at that temp).

    February 3, 2012
  5. I don’t think I get enough sleep. When I do get to bed, it takes me forever to fall asleep.
    I wonder if a new pillow would help?

    February 3, 2012
  6. i go to bed around 1030 pm & wake up at 630 am or so. usually the same times daily. like clockwork. but if there’s a thunderstorm my dogs keep me awake all night. i really need to invest in a new pillow! mine has had it. hurts my neck.

    February 3, 2012
  7. I am definitely not getting enough! lol

    February 3, 2012
  8. I think I get too much! 9 hrs but still tired sometimes! Good article!

    February 3, 2012
  9. Bradley Simons #

    Interesting fact we found while researching this; Brown Bats sleep the longest of any mammal, 19.9 hours every day!

    February 3, 2012
  10. I’m in the consensus. I probably need about 1 more hour of sleep a night.

    February 3, 2012
  11. I like to sleep! I can sleep almost 12 hrs if you let me. But sometimes I still even feel like I need more, as if I tossed and turned throughout.

    February 3, 2012
  12. Sleep? What’s that?

    February 3, 2012
  13. And if we wake up uncountable times during the night? Thats my problem as well as a few others. I would love this pillow! I use three dif ones two of wich are throw/sofa pillows. Maybe having one good one will help me toss and turn less! Heres to luck!

    February 3, 2012
  14. I never get enough sleep. I need a new bed and pillows.

    February 3, 2012
  15. Yeah there is no way I am getting enough, but I make due. We have a new baby due in March and a 3 yr old that just this year has started sleeping through the night. Add my working nights to the mix and you have disaster for sleep – c’est la vie!

    February 3, 2012
  16. betty white only sleeps 4 hours a night, and thats all she needs. i need like 25 hours a night and it still not what i need,LOL

    i have no clue to how to sleep longer, i really wished i did , beside running into a wall and hopin you knock urself out enough to sleep :/

    February 3, 2012
  17. I really enjoyed this artical and I know both hubby and I are not getting enough sleep. We will be taking your suggestions and trying to apply them

    February 4, 2012
  18. great article, will have to show this to my husband who insists i get up as early as him and the kids on the weekend, i think i need more sleep than the average or i feel drained, unmotivated and have no energy to do anything, but my husband cant understand that everyone needs different amounts of sleep, he seems to think its just habit yet everyday i go to sleep at around 10pm and get woken up by the kids around 6:30am, i feel so tired everyday! I’ve been doing this for 3 years so its obviously not habit or i would be used to it! i think i need 10 hours sleep to feel satisfied. not very often i fall asleep putting the kids to bed at 7:30pm and i feel amazing when i wake up the next day

    July 26, 2013
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