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Posted on 11-17-2016
At my Ann Arbor chiropractic office I regularly get the question, “How much sleep per night is optimal?” My understanding is that for most adults, the optimal amount of sleep is 7-9 hours. Some people can function optimally with 7 hours of sleep, while others need 9 hours a night for optimal function.
Furthermore, not getting enough sleep can be bad for your health. The amount you sleep doesn’t affect just your energy level. Studies demonstrate that the short-term effect of less-than-optimal sleep can cause one to become forgetful, have brain fog, and have decreased visual accuracy, and also cause impaired driving and irritability. Long-term sleep deprivation can cause such things as heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, and stroke.
It is known that many adults suffer from long-term sleep deprivation. Another term for long-term or accumulating sleep deprivation is “sleep debt.” Sleep debt can be looked at as a hour after hour accumulation of sleep that one is not getting.
Lawrence Epstein, M.D.,who has been treating sleep disorders for over 20 years, suggests the following (in the book “The Harvard Medical School Guide To a Good Night’s Sleep”) to erase your sleep debt.
Make sure to immediately catch up on any short-term sleep debt. For example, if your sleep debt is 10 hours over the last week, you should sleep an extra hour or two each weeknight and an extra 3-4 hours over the weekend.
Next, make up for long-term sleep debt. Accomplishing this may require that you take some time off your regular routine. For example, use about a week to go to bed at the same time each night and sleep until you wake up naturally. This should allow your body’s circadian rhythms to properly adjust to your body’s needs.
Lastly, keep up with sleeping a healthful number of hours; don’t fall back into sleep debt.
Questions about back pain, neck pain, headaches or this blog post can be addressed to me at my Ann Arbor chiropractic office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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