For how many hours do I sleep?
How many hours of sleep do I need?
Am I particular about the number of hours you sleep? If not, then these are the Questions that you must be asking yourself because a good quality sufficient sleep is absolutely necessary for good health, fresh mind and quality of life.
Recommended amount of Sleep
A contemporary adult must sleep for at least 7 to 8 hours, which is recommended amount of sleep irrespective of his or her profession, in order to lead a healthy life.
Quality and quantity of sleep determines how well your brain functions. While you are sleeping your brain is preparing you for tomorrow by generating new neural pathways which helps is your ability to learn and remember information.
Studies have shown that students who sleep properly and sufficiently tend to perform better in exams as compared to those who are not getting enough sleep. Thus, it is very important for every parent to ensure that their kids are getting proper amount of sleep on daily basis.
Deep Sleep & Subconscious Mind
More importantly, during the sleep it is our subconscious mind that becomes active instead of our conscious mind, which remains dormant. You must have observed different thoughts coming in your mind while you are trying to sleep and slowly, as you begin to fall asleep these thoughts become opaque; this is exactly the moment when your conscious mind is about to become dormant. Although your conscious mind is inactive now, subconscious mind takes time to become active.
It is only when you are very deep in sleep that your subconscious mind becomes active, normally it is only for 2 to 3 hours if you are sleeping for 7 to 8 hours. It is only when, you miss this crucial duration of 2 to 3 hours of deep sleep belonging to your subconscious mind, when in the morning you feel you haven’t slept last night.
Subconscious mind, being more powerful than the conscious mind, controls your believe system hence it is indispensable that your subconscious mind performs its daily dose of activities properly, every night, when you are in deep sleep.
Benefits of proper Sleep
If I talk in simple terms, a good 7 to 8 hours sleep keeps your mind fresh.
When your mind is fresh you can think creatively.
You are in a better position to deal with day to day problematic situations.
Your energy remains high throughout the day and as a result your efficiency also increases.
When your energy is high you attract positivity in your life.
Your relationship with friends, relatives and colleagues improves.
You become a better decision maker and take wise financial decisions in relatively small amount of time.
My personal experience with Sleep
I am telling this from personal experience of how I behaved and handled different situations during the day, both, when I had best amount of sleep which is 7 hours and when I had insufficient sleep, on different occasions, over the years. And difference was very clear as I remained irritated, isolated (anti-social), lacked confidence and willpower on majority of the days, after a night of, insufficient sleep.
As compared to high energy, confident frame, strong willpower and peace of mind which are normal traits of my personality, on any given day, after a proper and sufficient sleep at night. Hence, one can undoubtedly arrive at the conclusion that a good sleep enables you to lead a peaceful, energetic, happy and more fulfilling life.
I strongly feel that this discussion on importance of proper sleep is incomplete without the covering dangers of improper and insufficient sleep. Anyone, who is not practicing any form of meditation on regular basis and sleeping for less than 7 hours, falls in category of people suffering from sleep deprivation.
As per Vipassana teachers, if a person is practicing Vipassana for 2 hours per day, 1 in the morning and 1 in the evening he can do with 6 hours of sleep. In other words, if he or she sleeps for only 6 hours it will be sufficient and totally safe (This is a different discussion all together which I will probably cover in future). But as most people don’t fall in this category it becomes necessary to share impact of lack of sleep, which will be covered in my next post in this series.
Share your experience with Sleep
How many hours do you sleep? And how does it impact the quality of your life. In other words, are you able to recognize the difference (if any) in the way you carry out your daily activities after a night of proper sleep relative to after a night of improper sleep. Do share your inputs on this in comments section, as always I love to hear from you.