We’ve all done it. Sacrificed a few hours of sleep to finish an assignment, tackle that never-ending list of household chores or watch addictive late night TV. After all, what’s the harm in trading some shut-eye for well, everything else in our life?
As it turns out, a lot. People who don’t get enough sleep are more prone to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and the common cold.
Indeed, experts say that getting our ZZZ’s each night are as important to our wellbeing as eating healthy, working out and managing stress.
According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard, on average most adults need between 7.5 to 8.5 hours of sleep per 24-hour period to function optimally.
That said, some highly successful, seemingly optimally functioning people fall short of that target. US President Barak Obama has admitted to six hours of sleep at best, whilst Martha Stewart clocks up a mere four hours per night.
The amount of sleep you need to function is influenced by your age, genes, lifestyle and health. While there’s no magic number that works for everyone, there are ways to determine your ideal sleep duration.