The optimal amount of sleep is between seven and nine hours. Rest, recovery, and letting your digestive system function are all things you need to feel refreshed. There are, however, those who claim the opposite, or perhaps we ourselves are amongst them.
Nevertheless, a recent study revealed that some people even feel good when they are not getting enough sleep. Researchers found that at most, you can get away with five hours of sleep - anything less places you at risk for health complications.
In a study published in the journal PLOS Medicine, 8,000 British civil servants were tracked for their health and sleep. They tracked their sleep hours for more than 25 years and monitored chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
The number of chronic health problems of those sleeping five hours or less compared to those sleeping seven hours was 30% higher in those who sleep five hours or less. Many factors can contribute to someone not getting enough sleep at night.
Children crying and teenagers misbehaving can keep parents awake; menopause makes it difficult to find a comfortable temperature, and poor health can interfere with sleep, according to City magazine. As a result of increasing pressures such as the cost of living crisis and financial stress, insomnia is also on the rise among UK adults - 36% report difficulty falling asleep at least once a week.
The study reinforces the need for us to protect time spent in bed - whether it is moving pets, adjusting the temperature in the room, or changing what we eat and when we consume our last meal. Researchers have previously linked too much and too little sleep to mental health problems and poorer cognitive performance, and a Cambridge study found that consistency was more important than length of sleep.
This newer, longer study shows that there are limitations. So while it would be better to get six hours of sleep each night than nine, then four, then seven, it's crystal clear that the minimum we should aim for each night is five hours.