How Bad Is It To Sleep Less Than 7 Hours A Night?

We've all been there - one more episode to watch, one more chapter to read, one more level to clear. And before you know, it's 2AM and way past your bedtime.

The recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult is 7-9 hours per night, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)1. However, in a 2021 global study on sleep, it was found that Singaporeans averaged only 6.8 hours of sleep per night2. Stress and anxiety, a poor sleep environment, and the use of mobile devices before bedtime are some of the top reasons people don't get a good night’s sleep. The fast-paced, demanding lifestyle of modern societies has led people to deprioritize sleep.


When You Sleep Less than the Recommended Hours

Sleep is an essential activity that allows the body and mind to restore, repair, and recharge. When you don't get enough sleep, it can significantly impact your daily performance.

If you've slept less than 7 hours, you might notice increased yawning, decreased focus, or heightened irritability. However, occasional late nights typically won't disrupt your physical and mental health, as the body is resilient enough to cope with minor deviations from the ideal state.

Chronic sleep deprivation, on the other hand, can lead to several serious health conditions, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

How Bad Is It Really?

Should you be worried if you're consistently sleeping less than the recommended 7-9 hours? The answer depends on your individual sleep needs and how much less sleep you're actually getting. It's essential to recognize that sleep requirements vary from person to person and change throughout life. For example, an infant may need up to 17 hours of sleep, while an adult typically requires 7-9 hours.

What's crucial is how you feel with varying amounts of sleep. Feeling fine despite getting less than the recommended hours likely means you're okay. However, experiencing symptoms of sleep deprivation, such as daytime fatigue, lack of concentration, excessive yawning, or irritability, suggests you're not getting enough sleep for your body and brain to recover.

Takeaway

Sleep is crucial for good health and mental well-being, but everyone has different sleep needs. If you feel fine during the day despite not meeting the recommended 7 hours of sleep, it's probably not a cause for concern. However, if you experience symptoms of sleep deprivation, aim to increase your nightly sleep duration. Prolonged sleep deprivation can pose a greater risk of serious health conditions.

 

Reference:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/how_much_sleep.html
  2. Philips World Sleep Day 2021 Report
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