How Much Sleep is Enough?

You’ve heard about getting a solid eight hours, meaning a complete eight hours of sleep at night. The truth is, 6.5 to 7.5 hours of sleep is ideal. Studies show that people who get more or less statistically do not live as long as those who regularly sleep 6.5 to 7.5 hours a night. You should know, though, that the “best” amount of sleep varies over different demographics.

Children require more sleep; women in their third trimester of pregnancy require more sleep; some people require less sleep. For instance, Leonardo da Vinci slept 1.5 to 2 hours per day and took 15 minute naps every 4 hours. He died at age 67. Thomas Jefferson had a very erratic sleep schedule, but for the most part, he slept about 2 hours a day. He died at age 83.  Thomas Edison slept less than 5 hours a night and died at age 83. While these great historical figures have some admirable traits we should emulate, their sleep habits aren’t one of them.

Dr. Knutson of the Department of Health Studies at University of Chicago tells us* that evidence shows, sleeping 4 to 5 hours a day can “have negative physiological and neurobehavioral consequences.”

If you aren’t getting sufficient sleep, or if your sleep is disrupted by loud snoring or sudden gasping or choking, you may suffer from sleep apnea. Scientists believe Jefferson may have had sleep apnea. Call my Livonia dental office and schedule a time to come in and talk with me about your concerns. I’m Dr. James Stewart, and I have studied (and continue to study) sleep disorders and treatment. You deserve restful sleep for high-quality, productive days. I look forward to talking with you.