Do I really need 8 hours a night sleep?

The average person living in 1900 got 9 hours of sleep each night. By 1963, the average was only getting 8.5 hours. By 2002, the average person only got about 7 hours per night.  This means that the average person is suffering from a sleep debt of about 1.5 to 2 hours per night.  Sleep debt is serious business because it disrupts brain function, hormone levels and immune function, besides making us feel tired.  And as a mother of young children I know all too well that if you acquire a sleep debt, like any debt, you have to pay it back.

Sleep is very important to healing because deep sleep stimulates the release of Growth Hormone from the pituitary, which stimulates tissue regeneration and repair.  So, lack of sleep interferes with the body’s ability to mend when damaged.  Sleep is also important for lowering stress hormones and reducing insulin resistance.  Also when people are able to get adequate amounts of sleep their energy and mood improve.  Even moderate sleep debt makes it difficult for us to learn new things, solve problems and otherwise think clearly. It can take anywhere from days to months to rebuild one’s energy after a long period of “burn-out.”

A lot of people are stressed and suffering from sleep debt.  And reaching for a pill is not the answer.  Sleep medications are addictive and can have more severe withdrawal symptoms.

Sleep Hygiene

To get a better nights sleep try these few simple steps..

  • develop a bedtime routine like a cup of tea 30 minutes beforehand, a warm bath/shower/reading a book/ supper with honey
  • be in bed by 9.30 at the latest
  • no electrical devices in the room
  • turn off WiFi in the house
  • make sure your room is dark and cool
  • meditation/breath work
  • red a little in bed on your side
  • supplement with chamomile, valerian or another herbal hypnotic

Do yourself a favour tonight and get some sleep!!


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