Monday, March 14, 2011

How much sleep is necessary ?

After writing about sleep disorders I got this bug in my mind that how much actually a person needs sleep ? After searching a lot what I found is that the exact amount can't be found or is not firmly established. What I can say that our bodies would require a tranquil "rest and relaxation" period in order to refresh or you can say repair ourselves. Although I know that some sleep is necessary but what I don't know just how much is absolutely required. For example, while most people sleep between seven and eight hours each night, there is a wide variability among individuals, with some people needing as little as three hours while others still need 9 or more than this to refresh. What I learnt so far is that sleep requirements change with the passage of life time, as we age we need less and less amount of sleep. That's all I know firmly :).

I tried to find some material to find out how much a person can remain awaken I found that people who participate in sleep deprivation experiments, in which they are kept awake for as long as 200 hours which is equal to 8.3 days continuously. They feel weary and irritable, can't concentrate much on work, and show a loss of creativity, they also show a decline in logical reasoning ability but this can vary in the daytime which means in daytime there reasoning still remains high. However interestingly when these people are allowed to go to sleep normally for one day at least they come back quickly and perform at pre-deprivation levels just after few days. ( Reference Dement, 1976; Webb, 1992; Dinges et al., 1997 ).

Those of us who worry, then, that long hours of study, work, or perhaps partying are ruining our health should feel heartened including me :). As far as anyone can tell, most people suffer no permanent consequences of such temporary sleep deprivation. At the same time; though, a lack of sleep may make us feel edgy, angry, slow our reaction time, and lower our performance on academic tasks or office tasks. We certainly won't feel particularly good. In addition, what we should not do is that we must avoid routine activities when we are awake for a long period of time because we put ourselves and others at risk when we try to carry out routine activities, such as driving, when we're very sleepy. As sleep researcher Stanley Coren suggest "Going without sleep is as much of a public and personal safety hazard as going to work drunk in the morning".


So now you got the idea :)
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