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How much Sleep is enough?

How much Sleep is enough?

The ideal sleep varies depending on the person's age.

We have all heard of someone who sleeps only 4 hours a night,and comments like there is plenty of time to sleep when you die.

In today’s fast moving society people are connected 24 hours a day. Mobile phones, emails and social media are a constant intrusion in our daily lives. We need to switch off and make time for ourselves to recover physically and mentally.

For far too long people have taken for granted their sleep and have placed less and less importance on it. However there is now a growing awareness and understanding of sleep.

The average person in Britain and Ireland sleeps a little over 6½ hours a night and it is reported that over  1/3 of us sleep between 5-6 hours  a night. Most believe that they can catch up on weekends and days off…But the fact is if you regularly lose sleep or choose to sleep less than needed, the sleep loss adds up and is referred to as sleep debt and there is no getting it back.

During a normal night's sleep, your body follows a predictable pattern moving through the 5 stages of sleep, each stage lasts 90 minutes and is known as a sleep cycle. 

Stage 1.This is the period between wakefulness and sleep and is best described as light sleep.

Stage 2.Your breathing and heart rate slow,your body temperature starts to drop.

Stage 3.Deep sleep starts, hormones are released and your body starts making repairs.

Stage 4.This is very deep sleep and blood is directed towards your muscles, helping restore physical energy.

Stage 5.During this stage your heart will increase along with your body temperature, your mind is active and your dreams more vivid.

The average adult needs between 7-9 hours’ sleep. . Ideally you should have the same bed time and wake time. Condition yourself to go to sleep at certain time. Make it a routine. If you want to wake at 6.30am you should count back in 90 minute blocks, so to get 7 and half hour sleep you should be asleep by 11pm.

The most important issue with sleep is the quality of sleep one gets. To have a more energetic start in the morning, set your alarm clock in accordance with your sleep cycle and not the standard 8 hours. Waking during a cycle instead of the end can cause you to feel groggy and tired in the morning. 

Kultreet Chaudhary a well-respected neurologist said “timing your sleep is like timing an investment in the stock market, it doesn’t matter how much you invest, it matters when you invest”.

If you have any questions please feel free to email at

By David O shea


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