How much sleep do you actually need?
It has been revealed this week that
nearly 40% of people in Japan sleep for less than six hours a
night, with those surveyed citing working too hard and for too many
hours as the reasons for their lack of shut eye.
And this work life imbalance is nothing new.. key
figures from history -as well as current politicians- have famously
forgone sleep in
order to get the job done..
- Napoleon reportedly referred to people's sleep needs saying 'Six
hours for a man, seven for a woman and eight for a fool'.
- Margaret thatcher famously survived on just four
hours sleep a night while Winston Churchill ran the country on five
- And finally, reports this week of Donald Trump's
sleep deprivation have suggested the President Elect has made his
way to the Whitehouse by getting by on a restless four hours a
So what is the answer?
Our sleep expert, Dr Nerina Ramlakhan says: "While
eight hours is a good average to work towards, I have encountered
many people who have become anxious about their supposed sleep
deprivation because they feel they might not be achieving the
'normal' amount of sleep.
"There is no normal amount of sleep; the ideal amount
differs for everyone and depends on many factors, including age and
Try to switch off from the day
Dr Nerina continues: "Information overload and
working long hours leaves many of us unable to sleep. It's important to
prepare your body for getting some rest so that you get in to bed
feeling calm and relaxed. Try to switch off 60-90 minutes before
you go to bed. This means no phones or tablets.
Remember rest is as important as sleep
"Don't worry if you do wake up during the night. If
you start worrying you'll find it even harder to get back to sleep. Instead, lie on
your back and try to consciously relax each part of your body
starting from your toes and working up to your head and face.
Breathe deeply from your diaphragm and tell yourself that it
doesn't matter if you don't fall asleep and that you will just use
the time to rest and relax.
Don't get obsessed
"And finally don't get obsessed with the amount of hours
you're getting. If you wake up feeling refreshed after just five
hours sleep then you're probably getting enough sleep for you."
For more sleep advice from Dr Nerina visit our