This is a much debated topic.  Various research articles have
propounded theories that gauge the exact amount of sleep required by a
person and how to find out if he is getting enough sleep. The amount
of shut eye necessary can vary from person to person.  Not only does
the quantity of seep count, but so does the quality.  The experts are
in full agreement that the number of hours of sleep required varies
from person to person, but they also agree that there is no minimum
number of hours of sleep for optimum health.  Some people remain
healthy while getting a mere six hours, while still others can not
function without eight consecutive hours.  To remain in good health
you need to progress through the five phases of sleep.

To feel fully rested your brain needs to go through the full cycle of
the five phases of sleep.  Enough time should be spent in each of the
phases so that your brain can rest completely.  Any interruptions in
these phases will lead to feelings of fatigue.  There are times when
the common alarm clock and your body’s internal clock simply are not
on the same schedule.  This can be the issue when you are chronically
not getting enough sleep.  Cases like this can happen to people who
work at night or the overseas traveler who experiences “jet lag” or
“jet daze”.  This lack of synchronization can leave you unable to
enjoy your vacation or unable to make the sale!  Dr. Judith Reichman’s
book – “Slow Your Clock Down:  The Complete Guide to a Healthy,
Younger You” is a great read on this subject.

There are several other conditions that can lead to your sleep cycle
being interrupted.  Three of the biggest are: sleep apnea, periodic
limb movement, and chronic pain and disease.  The signs of sleep apnea
are snoring, gasping, and pauses in your breathing that cause you to
wake.  Sleep apnea can be caused by many things like allergies,
enlarged tonsils or adenoids, and being overweight.  Periodic limb
movement is a common affliction of adults.  One of these type of
ailments is Restless Leg Syndrome.  The constant, unexpected jerking
of your arms or legs can wake you.  Maybe not completely, but enough
to interrupt your sleep cycle.  Pain and chronic diseases such as
arthritis, osteoporosis, congestive heart failure, and even too much
medication can hamper or interrupt the cycle and lead to fatigue and
sleep disorders.

There are several major indicators that determine whether a person is
getting enough sleep.  Many conclusions can be made by observing
certain characteristics.  First among these is observing whether or
not the person is awakened without alarm and how difficult it is for
them to get up in the morning.  There is a host of other things to
watch, including:  falling asleep while driving, dozing off while
watching T.V., caffeine intake – especially after 4p.m.,bedtime eating
habits, and if a person must use alcohol or medications to fall
asleep.  Once all of this information is known, a clear picture of the
person’s sleeping pattern emerges.

Repeat medical studies have shown that eight hours a day is the
average amount of sleep required for adults to feel as if they are
getting enough sleep.  Elderly people cope with shorter sleep periods
at night by taking short, deep naps throughout the day.  You have a
busy, stressful life and naps are probably not feasible.  Maybe you
think that because you were in bed for six hours you should have had
enough rest.  You need to sleep for at least six to eight hours
straight.  You should schedule an extra hour of rest to allow your
mind to wind down so that you can actually sleep those hours.  Late
nights are not bad for your health, either.  When you get to bed is
not the issue, it is the number of hour you devote to rest and sleep.
If for some reason you do not get all of your beauty sleep, a short
nap of 30 to 40 minutes should recharge you for the rest of the day.

Teens are the age group that are most dramatically affected by a lack
of sleep.  Multiple studies have indicated that a teens circadian
rhythm affects their sleeping pattern.  The interruptions caused by
this rhythm can lead to dozing during study periods and a lack of
concentration.  Both of which lead to bad grades.  A lack of sleep can
lead to feelings of sadness and depression.  Mood swings and falling
asleep behind the wheel can occur from a lack of sleep.  A lack of
sleep and alcohol are the two major reasons for teen automobile

The best tips for getting enough sleep and to feel energized are to
set a regular bed time, regular exercise, avoid stimulants, like
caffeine, after 4p.m., relax your mind, and have peaceful
surroundings.  These tips, and more, are included in Dr. Joesph
Mercola’s book “Take Control of Your Health”.  Therefore, the top
solutions to not getting enough sleep are scheduling a regular bed
time and a healthy lifestyle.

David Grisaffi