A lot of people ask 'How much sleep do I need to function at optimum level?' but unfortunately there isn't a simple answer for that. The amount of sleep you need depends on a number possible of factors including, age, genetic make-up, the amount of exercise you get, what you do during the day, the quality of your sleep and whether you are still growing.

The older we get the less sleep we need. The optimum amount of sleep for most adults is around 7 to 8 hours a night. Although as I said it really does differ from person to person, some people may need as few as 4 hours, or as many as 10 hours of sleep per night. Our biological clocks run on a 25 hour cycle, rather than the 24 hours we have tuned our daily lives around. This is why it is easier for most people to go to bed later, than it is to wake up early.

Many people have no troubles sleeping at all and may even sleep excessively and still feel fatigued. What's important to note is that, it's not the quantity of sleep attained, rather the quality of sleep.

In fact, you may be getting more sleep than you think, but just not quality and restorative sleep. This could be due to tension, stress, worrying thoughts or bad sleep habits such as excessive mental or physical exertion close to bed time. A lot of people also have the notion that they have to sleep 8 hours a night, and that if they don't, they will feel tired the next day.

Sleep is a fairly complex process which is made up of two types of sleep, REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and Non-REM sleep. REM sleep is when we dream. Non-REM sleep is divided into a further four stages. It's in these stages that the body is able to replenish and rejuvenate. You may find that after a good night's sleep that you feel refreshed and energized. Sleep enables you to restore and rejuvenate many functions of the mind and body. However, if you're an insomniac you may find that you are not able to fall into the deeper stages of sleep, which is vital for restoration.

Unfortunately insomnia can affect us all regardless of gender, age or race, it does not discriminate. Thousands of accidents a year occur due to falling asleep or loss of concentration, mainly while driving or operating dangerous machinery. Its total cost, in terms of illness, injuries, and decreased quality of life is staggering.

There really isn't a straightforward answer when people ask How much sleep do I need? The important thing to remember is that it's quality sleep rather than quantity.

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