HC_P7921.JPGSleep hygiene

An inadequate amount of sleep or poor quality can have very serious consequences. Many studies have shown that it can have a negative effect on working ability and attention. Even if one sleeps just an hour and a half less than he needs, attention has decreased by about a third during the day. Excessive drowsiness during the day makes it more difficult to remember, think and process information, and contributes to increased risk of injury at the workplace.

How much sleep does man need?

Although many factors affect how much sleep a person needs, the usual recommendation is eight hours per night. Most young adults sleep around seven and half hours during week days or eight and a half over the weekend. However, individual needs vary considerably.

Some people need only five and a half hours of sleep, and there are those who sleep for up to nine and a half hours a night. Among the factors on which the sleep needs are dependant the most important are genetic inheritance, sleep hygiene, sleep quality and daily rhythm. It is also necessary to take into account factors that have a great influence on length and quality of sleep, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, intense exercise, the habit of eating or watching television in bed, the length of time spent by an individual exposed to intense light (for example, working on computer till late at night), etc.

All this together determines how much sleep it takes for a person to awaken fresh and rested.

But, as has already been said, individual sleeping needs vary considerably.

How, then, to determine what this individual need is? First you need to consider a bank account, but this time we are talking about a sleep bank, and see if there is a debt that needs to be settled. During the day, that account takes eight hours, which is a debt. During the night this debt is debited, but if a man sleeps, for example, only six and a half hours, an hour and a half debt remains unsettled.

If this pattern is repeated for five consecutive nights, one whole night's sleep is lost! Then it will take several subsequent nights to pay back the debt. A simple test can determine whether someone is sleeping enough or not. Starting from Sunday, you should go to sleep at about the same time each night and sleep for seven to eight hours in the next six nights.

There is no need for an alarm clock on Saturday morning, rather sleep until you spontaneously awake. If the sleep lasted longer than was the average waking time during the previous week, it means that the sleep time was insufficiently long and that there was debt in sleep bank.


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