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How Much Sleep Do I Really Need?

February 26, 2024  ·  7 min read

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Sleep is the foundation of our well-being, yet we so often neglect it for deadlines, digital distractions, and the daily grind. The night owls and hustlers of the world believe that getting a full night’s sleep isn’t truly necessary and that they can function on just a few hours of sleep a night without consequences. If you think you can get by on just a few winks and are wondering, “How much sleep do I really need?” you might be in for a rude awakening. 

The recommended hours of sleep for most healthy adults is, according to Harvard Medical School, at least seven hours. Despite the ability to get by on a mere five or six hours every once in a while, consistent nights of less than seven hours of sleep can lead to chronic sleep deprivation that will affect your mental clarity, emotional balance, and overall health.

In this article, our mattress experts will discuss the importance of getting a full night of quality sleep and explain what sleep deprivation can do to your body and mind.

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Get Your Best Night’s Sleep

Is it OK to get 5 hours of sleep?

Simply put, no. While some may claim they’re just fine running on five hours of sleep, the reality is that no adult can function fully on so little sleep. You may be wondering is six hours of sleep enough?It’s so close to seven. The answer is still no. 

Okay, so do I need seven or eight hours of sleep? There you go! The ideal amount of sleep is a full eight hours of sleep each night. Eight hours is necessary for your brain and body to go through all the critical stages of sleep, including the deepest and most restorative phases. However, it doesn’t matter how much sleep you’re getting if your sleep quality is poor. Seven to nine hours of tossing and turning can still lead to sleep deprivation.

Texas Mattress Makers graphic about sleep deprivation.

The risks of not getting enough quality sleep

If you do not get enough quality sleep every night, you run the risk of becoming sleep-deprived, which is not a fun experience. Sleep deprivation takes a toll on both the body and the brain, and can lead to a laundry list of bad health effects. 

What happens to your brain if you don’t sleep?

The minimum amount of sleep needed for brain function is seven hours. When the brain is deprived of adequate rest, it suffers and cannot function as it should. Physiologically, lack of sleep can contribute to:

  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Reduced concentration
  • Reduced decision-making abilities
  • Slowed reactions
  • Inability to store memories or retain information
  • Weakened immune system
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Increased risk of chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases
  • Mental health and mood problems
Texas Mattress Makers graphic listing out the effects of sleep deprivation.

How does lack of sleep affect mental health?

Sleep and mental health go hand-in-hand. When you’re asleep, your brain goes through processes to clear out toxins for improved functionality — if you’re not sleeping properly, your brain can’t flush out those built-up toxins. Therefore, sleep loss can exacerbate mood disorders, heightening feelings of irritability, stress, and anxiety. Inadequate sleep can also increase your risk of developing diseases like Alzheimer’s. 

In summary, skipping the necessary amount of shut-eye disrupts the intricate systems that maintain our brain’s health.

What happens to your body when you don’t get enough sleep?

So, if your brain isn’t functioning properly due to a lack of sleep, your body will not fare well either. In the short term, trying to get through work, school, or simple daily tasks can feel impossible due to how tired you feel. However, chronic sleep deprivation can have a list of long-term health effects including:

  • Slower recovery: In our article discussing the relationship between sleep and exercise, we concluded that sleep is essential for muscle recovery and building. Without it, you’ll feel sore for longer, won’t have enough steam to sustain another session, and won’t be able to reap the benefits of your workout.  
  • Weight gain: Sleep deprivation can disrupt the hormones that regulate appetite, leading to increased hunger and cravings for high-calorie foods. It can also make it harder for you to lose weight as your metabolism slows.
  • Risk of cardiovascular disease: Insufficient sleep has been linked to higher blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease. 
  • Weakened immune system: A weakened immune system can make your body more vulnerable to infections and illnesses that will be harder to recover from. 

An ongoing lack of sleep can severely compromise your overall health and wellness, making it imperative to prioritize sleep to maintain the body’s functionality. 

Tips for better sleep

To get the ideal amount of sleep each night, you need to create a sleep schedule that will promote deep, restorative sleep. Here are some tips for how you can get better sleep each night:

1. Set a sleep schedule

Keeping a consistent sleep schedule means going to bed and waking up at the same time every day — yes, even on the weekends — to set your circadian rhythm (better known as your internal clock) up for success. This is your body’s way of telling you that you’re tired to prepare you for your nighttime snooze session. Aim to go to bed at a reasonable hour so that you can wake up feeling rested and refreshed after your 7 to 9 hours of sleep.

2. Cut the caffeine

If you find yourself constantly reaching for that afternoon coffee as a pick-me-up, you’re not getting enough quality sleep. Caffeine can disrupt your sleep cycle even if you have it hours before bedtime. Wondering when to stop drinking caffeine before bed? Aim to avoid caffeine consumption at least six hours before bedtime to ensure that your body will have had enough time to process and eliminate most of the caffeine in your system. 

3. Skip the sleeping pills

If you’re having trouble falling asleep, your brain could be having trouble producing melatonin, the sleep hormone. While melatonin supplements can help regulate sleep, they are not a one-size-fits-all solution and might cause daytime drowsiness if not used properly. If you want more in-depth information on the pros and cons of melatonin, check out our blog.

4. Get a good quality mattress

Imagine your mattress as the most important sleep tool you can have. Meaning, to get the best quality sleep possible, you need to have the right mattress. If you’re experiencing discomfort or poor sleep quality, this is one of the largest signs you need a new mattress. Luckily, Texas Mattress Makers creates the highest-quality mattresses in Houston that can help you address your sleep pain points for a better night’s sleep.

Quality Sleep Starts at Texas Mattress Makers

We hope that after answering, “How much sleep do I really need?” you have a better understanding of the importance of not only getting enough sleep but getting high-quality sleep. Needing 7 to 9 hours of sleep is not a myth but a research-backed recommendation to ensure that your body and mind can function properly. 

People are often surprised to realize that the cause of their sleep deprivation is their poor quality bed. You won’t be able to get the caliber of rest you require if you are not sleeping on a top-quality mattress suited to your body and needs. 

If you’re not getting good sleep, stop by any of our mattress stores in Katy, Downtown Houston, The Woodlands, Rosenberg, Humble, or Baybrook, TX today to find a mattress that will kickstart years of amazing sleep. Our mattresses are handmade here in Houston using only top-of-the-line mattress components that are crafted for superior support and comfort. 

No matter what your sleep preferences are or what your budget is, we can provide you with a great mattress that you will be excited to get 7-9 hours of sleep on.

More Helpful Articles by Texas Mattress Makers:

Sleep Health

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