How Much Sleep is Enough Sleep

1st Paper – ROUGH DRAFT

How much sleep is the perfect amount of sleep? According to WebMD: “An average adult needs between 7.5 and 8 hours of sleep per night, but many people can function with 6 hours of sleep and there also some who need 9 hours or more.” The nightly sleep recommendation we’ve been told is 8. That number, we’ve been told, is the standard for a healthy sleeping routine. When really the amount of sleep someone needs, varies person to person.

It’s a commonly asked question: how much sleep is enough sleep? How long should I sleep? “We’ve heard the magic number 8,” says Sumathi Reddy of the Wall Street Journal, “but experts are working to come up with a more refined, evidence-based answer.”

Why is a commonly asked question? Going to bed late and waking up early, most people wake up groggy, but without a lot of sleep not only is one groggy throughout the entire day, it makes it more difficult to regulate emotions. Humans have to regulate their emotions all the time and without sleep that becomes challenging. Not only does regulating one’s emotions become a problem, but the consequence of sleep loss is that the brain becomes unstable. Basically without sleep, people are cranky and are unable to function. People don’t like cranky people or being cranky, so they want to know the perfect amount of time they should sleep.

Dr. Michael J. Breus from the Huffington Post said: “Although eight hours is the number most often associated with a full night’s sleep, sleep experts know that there is some degree of variation when it comes to individual sleep needs.” Research from The National Sleep Foundation says: “Sleep needs vary across ages and are especially impacted by lifestyle and health.”

Some say the magic number is seven and not eight as everyone had believed. “Several sleep studies have found that seven hours is the optimal amount of sleep,” Reddy explains in her article, “Although many doctors question that conclusion.”

According to Julia Belluz and her interview with sleep scientist Hans Van Dongen on Vox: “Seven hours is the new eight hours when it comes to sleep. According to a Wall Street Journal article published yesterday, people who live the longest in the best health get seven hours. One expert even made this frightening statement: “Eight hours or more has consistently been shown to be hazardous.” Now the number is seven although the number had always been eight, but getting eight or more hours of sleep is dangerous! Which is it?

Hans finds it to be very tricky, if not misleading, to tell people a certain number to sleep that may or may not be best for them. As the National Sleep Association mentioned before and WebMD agrees that: “The amount of sleep needed to function the next day varies from individual to individual.”

Knowing that sleep varies from individual to individual, that suggests that the seven to eight-hour model may not be ideal sleep time for everyone. Reddy explains that, “Dr. Morgenthaler advises patients to aim for seven to eight hours of sleep a night and to evaluate how they feel.” And that once they evaluate how they feel when they get up, adjust the amount of sleep they would like to get from there.

A recommendation from Reddy on how to achieve that perfect amount of sleep: “Experts say people should be able to figure out their optimal amount of sleep in a trial of three days to a week, ideally while on vacation. Don’t use an alarm clock. Go to sleep when you get tired. Avoid too much caffeine or alcohol. And stay off electronic devices a couple of hours before going to bed. During the trial, track your sleep with a diary or a device that records your actual sleep time. If you feel refreshed and awake during the day, you’ve probably discovered your optimal sleep time.”

The recommendation is meant to help guide someone to find their perfect sleep state. It will change over time, because one will have to account with the issues such as gender and age. Reddy would also like to share that, “Biological changes associated with puberty result in a shift in circadian rhythms, causing adolescents to get tired later at night, sleep experts say. The changes can start in middle school and can shift a child’s bedtime by as much as two hours.”

The amount of sleep someone gets decline as they get older, kids sleep more than adults, and the amount of sleep that adults get in general has been declining over the past few years. I’ts hard to set a particular sleep duration because it will never be firmly established for one person. The older the person gets the more or less sleep they will need. There will never be a firmly set sleep duration number.

Dogen also states in his interview with Julia that: “We also know that the amount of sleep you need depends on circumstances. For example, you may need more sleep when you have lost sleep in previous days, or when your immune system needs to battle an infection, or when you are going to be taking on a particularly difficult or safety-sensitive task the next day. The science is clearly telling us that it’s not so simple as a single number.”

In the end, Dr. Breus says: “The right amount of sleep is always going to be personal and individual determination. The most important information in determining your sleep needs is what your body and mind tell you. Pay attention to how much (and how well) you’re sleeping at night, and also pay attention to how you feel during the day. A sufficient night of sleep should leave you feeling alert and energized throughout the bulk of the day, and ready for bed at roughly the same time every night.”

Once one has found the perfect sleep time, it is also important to practice good sleep hygiene. According to Breus: “That includes consistent bed times and wake times, a dark, cool, and comfortable bedtime, and quiet time away from bright light and electronics in the hour before bed. Give yourself ample time for sleep, and create a sleep-friendly environment and routine, and your body can tell you a great deal about how much sleep you need.”

In the end, there is no magic sleep number. Just a number unique to your sleep routine as unique as you.


  1. I like the topic because it relates to college students well. I think maybe you could change up the lead to sound a bit more news article-y, with a more bold sort of statement. The first paragraph or two sound a bit research paper-like, so maybe look back at that. After those first two it sounds good, I like all the facts you provide and I think the whole 7 or 8 hour debate is interesting. I would exclude some of the quotes because I don’t think some of them add anything and instead you could paraphrase the information in it. One of those cases is at the very end when you talk about good sleep hygiene. Aside from those thing, which are pretty nit-picky, I like your story a lot!

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