Many of us are familiar with the old adage ‘there’s nothing like a good night’s sleep.’ Well, this saying is as popular as it is accurate. Numerous studies have shown that sleep is imperative to our overall health and wellbeing. Yet studies have also found that 1/3 of Americans do not get an adequate amount of sleep. This lack of sleep can be attributed to a multitude of reasons: demanding work schedules, daily stressors, poor sleeping environments, etc. However, there is still a number of people who simply do not know how to manage their sleep. One simple solution to this critical issue is the use of a sleep calculator. A sleep calculator is helpful in determining the amount of sleep you should be getting. This user-friendly calculator can help those not sleeping enough by offering a resource that can help optimize sleep schedules.
The Right Amount of Sleep
A common question we hear is exactly how much sleep should the average person be getting? Studies have found that, as a person grows and develops, the necessary amount of sleep decreases. For example, a newborn baby needs 14-17 hours of sleep while an adolescent child needs only 9-11 hours. Even these numbers continue to dip as a person enters their teens and then, of course, adulthood. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. It is important to note that these are just general recommendations. Every individual is different, so the needs of others in the same age range may differ.
Behind the Hourly Recommendations
Another frequent inquiry is how the amount of sleep different age groups need is determined. Researchers have actually based their sleep recommendations on the 4 stages of the sleep cycle. The first three stages of sleep are collectively referred to as non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM). Stages 1 and 2 are lighter sleep in which the mind and body slowly descends into relaxation. Stage 3 is a deeper sleep, which is vital for your body’s physical and mental restoration. Finally, the last stage of sleep is rapid eye movement (REM). During this stage of sleep, the body is paralyzed (temporarily) but the brain is flooded with activity. This is where your dreams would occur which, in turn, empower your memory and complex thinking skills. With all of this information in mind, experts choose an amount of time that will allow you to go through multiple sleep cycles. From start to finish, a sleep cycle takes about 90 minutes to complete. 7-9 hours of sleep is equivalent to 5-6 sleep cycles. Ideally, you’ll wake up at the end of a sleep cycle rather than in the middle of one. In doing so, you feel more refreshed and invigorated throughout your day.
The True Importance of Sleep
Everyone is aware that sleep is important but not everyone is aware just how important it is. Getting enough sleep isn’t just about not feeling tired. Sleep is actually essential for every bodily system. In fact, sleep deprivation has long-term and short-term consequences on your physical, emotional, and cognitive health. In the short-term, a lack of sleep can cause:
- excessive daytime sleepiness
- worsened reaction time
- irritability and mood swings
- fragmented memory and decreased problem solving skills
Additionally, long-term effects can include:
- hindered immune system leading to increased risk of infections
- weight gain and obesity
- depression and anxiety
- hormonal abnormalities
These are just a few of the damaging effects that stem from sleep deprivation. Thus, sleep is crucial to your well-being throughout your entire life.
The Utility of the Sleep Calculator
As mentioned earlier, the sleep calculator can be the difference between a poor sleeping schedule and a great sleeping schedule. What’s great about this calculator is that not only is it easy to use, but it is also personalized according to your sleep needs. In order to calculate your recommended hours, you will need to input your wake-up time and the number of hours you would like to sleep. Based on that information, the sleep calculator will give you its best sleep suggestion specifically for you. This calculator takes into account recommendations from the National Institute of Health, the Sleep Health Journal, and other trusted sources. The results from it optimize both the NREM and REM stages of sleep. Overall, the sleep calculator suits itself to your needs in order to stabilize your sleep schedule.
It cannot be stressed enough that the amount of sleep we get is extremely important. Be that as it may, it can still be difficult for any person to get their appropriate amount of sleep. But with a simple tool like the sleep calculator, you can better manage your time and your sleep schedule. Once you figure out what your sleep schedule should look like, you can further improve your sleep hygiene by curating a healthy sleeping environment. Such an environment can be easily manifested by putting away and turning off electronics, creating a quiet atmosphere, and choosing a supportive mattress.