We need to sleep no less than 8 hours per night!
How much sleep do we need? To answer this question let's consider the following experiment carried out by scientists from the Universities of Pennsylvania and Washington.The researchers invited 48 healthy grown-up people to participate in the experiment and divided them into four groups. Members of the first group had to spend two days in a row without sleep. Volunteers from the second group had only a four-hour sleep per night. The third group had a six-hour sleep every night. The fourth group slept for no less and no more than eight hours per night.
The experiment lasted for two weeks and almost every day the volunteers did special tests aimed at measuring their mental and physical performance.
The results of the experiment were as follows:
Those who slept 8 hours a day were sound as a bell and did all the tests perfectly well during the entire experiment, whereas the people from the other three groups found it difficult to stay mentally sharp and their physical performance was also decreasing. Amazingly enough, the difference between the people who slept 4 and 6 hours per night was hardly noticeable.
Among other things, the scientists came to a conclusion that fatigue may be accumulated in our body if we are regularly deprived of sleep. After a week of the experiment the volunteers who slept less than 8 hours could suddenly conk out during the daytime. After the second week the people who had six hours' sleep showed the same low performance as the people who didn't sleep two days in a row.
So, if you sleep only 6 hours a day during two weeks, it will have the same consequences as if you were awake 48 hours in a row.
Moreover, the volunteers didn't always notice decrease in their performance. When they were asked to estimate their mental and physical condition, the people appeared to overestimate themselves. In other words, we cannot estimate our performance adequately and it may lead to a delusion that lack of sleep is quite harmless. And this makes the situation only worse.
We live in the era of light offices, caffeine and the Internet. We truly believe that if we shorten our sleep we will have more time and thus will be more productive. Unfortunately, this is not true. The less we sleep, the lower our performance is. More than that, our health condition gets worse and our body grows old much faster.
How to sleep properly? Here are some practical recommendations from scientists:
-Sleep no less than 7.5 – 8 hours a day.
-Try not to consume products high in caffeine (it's much better to eat an apple in the morning than to have a cup of coffee).
-Give up smoking (it causes sleep troubles).
-Remove everything from the bedroom that can prevent you from sleeping – a PC, a TV-set, a smartphone etc.
-Use dense curtains or blinds that do not allow any light into the room (the sufficient amounts of melatonin are produced only in the darkness).
-Get up and go to bed at the same time every day (even at the weekends).
-Don't use a smartphone or tablet before going to bed (the blue light they radiate may block melatonin production and you will need more time to fall asleep).
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