2 minute read

The elusive quest for rest: is 7 hours of sleep enough?

By Numan Editorial | Medically reviewed by Dr Luke Pratsides

As you get older, it’s harder to fall asleep. Don’t worry, this is normal. But it makes it all the more important to get the right amount of sleep every night. Generally, it’s agreed that a healthy adult needs 7 hours or more of sleep every night. 

But is that enough? Let’s break it down.

What are the phases of sleep?

It’s important to go through all the phases of sleep. The rapid eye movement (REM) stage is especially crucial as it enables key functions such as memory and learning. As the night passes, you tend to spend a greater percentage of your night in REM sleep. 

The body regulates sleep in two key ways. Firstly, the phenomenon of sleep-wake homeostasis which simply means the longer we stay awake, the more we feel the need to sleep and recharge.  The other way the body regulates sleep is the circadian rhythm. This is the body’s biological clock and lasts roughly 24 hours. It plays numerous roles in various bodily functions. 

But is 7 hours of sleep enough? 

Everybody and every body is different. The amount of sleep you need varies.

It can be affected by things such as: 

  • The amount of energy you use every day 

  • Health conditions 

  • Caffeine intake

  • Age

  • Genetics

There may be times where you sleep 7 hours or more but still wake up unrefreshed. 

This is where it’s vital to take into account other factors that may be affecting your sleep and tackle them head on.

Some other things to consider: 

Sleep hygiene: Keeping a strict bedtime schedule, following a bedtime routine, and optimising your bedroom, contribute to healthy sleep hygiene. Your sleep can be less revitalising if you have poor sleep hygiene.

Comfortable bedding: Having the ideal mattress can make the difference between a fragmented and refreshing sleep. The same goes with choosing the right pillows and bedding to ensure you have the best sleep possible. 

Caffeine: Drinking too much coffee or other forms of caffeine can cause you to fall asleep later, less, or even make it less satisfying. Caffeine blocks the adenosine receptors which are responsible for you to feel sleepy. 

Alcohol: Booze can affect the quality of your sleep. A 2018 study found that even low amounts of alcohol before bed can affect the quality of your sleep by 9.3%. 

The numan take

While there's no magic sleep number, aim for 7 hours or more each night. Elevate your sleep game and transform your nights.