The secret to a great night's sleep

Have scientists found the perfect amount of sleep?

Do you ever wonder how much sleep you really need or if that Sunday morning lie in will leave you worse off? New research published in the journal Sleep, could help to gauge how much sleep we actually need.

The study used the data of 1,885 men and 1,875 women collected from the Finnish "Health 200" survey. Results showed that those who took the least amount of sick days slept on average 7.5 hours (for women) and 7.8 hours (for men) per night. The research highlighted that those who got more or less than the "perfect" average of hours per sleep had a higher risk for sickness absence, rising to eight more days a year. Although there is a clear correlation between lack of sleep or too much sleep and increased number of sick days, it does not mean one is caused by the other. 

The research also found that male participants reported using sleeping pills more often and females found that the seasons had a greater effect on their sleep duration. The study supports previous research, which suggests the optimum hours of sleep is somewhere between five and nine hours per night. It is known that we need to adjust sleep by age and by the individual, making it difficult to give a definitive answer as to exactly how much sleep is required.


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