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Is the eight hours of sleep rule a myth?

  • Make sure you get your eight hours of sleep: it's a message we've come to accept over the last few centuries. Most people believe that eight hours of sleep is the ideal amount of sleep, but experts say that this is not the case.

    For one thing, eight hours is only a rough guideline for how much sleep adults require. The number of hours needed to function properly and avoid harming your heart and mental health is determined by your age. Most newborns require 14 to 17 hours of sleep per day, though some thrive on 11 to 18 hours. Children aged six to thirteen in primary school require nine to eleven hours of sleep, but some thrive on seven to twelve hours. Adults are advised to sleep seven to nine hours per day, but some can get by on six to ten.

    But what distinguishes human sleep is its diversity, which includes everything from the type of job you have to the amount of exercise you get each day—all of which can have an impact on your sleep. When it comes to sleep, however, it depends on your lifestyle and not on rules.

    Experts in San Francisco, California, wrote in the journal that how much sleep you need is entirely determined by your genes.

    According to experts, some people may only require four to six hours of sleep. "The saying that 'everyone needs eight hours of sleep is associated with the industrial era—eight hours of labour, eight hours of recreation, and eight hours of rest." Genetics, age, medical conditions, environmental, and behavioural factors all influence how much sleep you require." Some people need more than eight hours of sleep per night, while others need less.

    The amount of sleep we require to function optimally can also vary depending on our prior sleep history. A period of sleep deprivation, illness, or high stress may cause you to require more sleep than usual for a short period. It is critical to determine what works best for you and prioritise sleep so you get enough every night.