Morning folks. I hope you slept well, but I know that many of us struggle with this foundational element of our health. Let’s get into it.
We know that humans need very different amounts of sleep during their lifetime. We know that teenagers in general wake up much later and go to sleep later (making them get up early for high school is a particularly nasty plan). We know that too little or too much sleep can have devastating consequences ranging from poor learning to mood disorders to death. But we don’t know how long any one individual adult person should be sleeping.
I used the “should” word! Read that sentence again.
We don’t know how long any one body should be sleeping. So take a big breath, let it out as a sigh, and release all those rules that people have made for you around “healthy sleep”.
What we do know is that adults underestimate how much sleep they get. We also know that on average, adults need 7-9 hours of sleep every night to feel rested and reap the health benefits of sleep. Many other details that health care providers tell you about sleep are from smaller studies, anecdotes, or other lower forms of evidence, perhaps their own personal opinion.
That said, just because something hasn’t been proven by a randomized controlled trial doesn’t mean that it’s not accurate or true. It just means that we can set aside any moral superiority that folks have when they’re giving you advice about sleep. It’s just that, advice. Give it a try, and see if it helps.
My advice? Take the should out of the sleep equation! Instead, experiment with what helps or hurts in your attempts to wake up rested. Plus, be skeptical of anybody selling you a quick fix. Be well, folks!
If you’re interested in more detailed looks at topics like this one, feel free to reach out to discuss individual coaching, join our mailing list, or keep your eyes peeled for upcoming group coaching offers!