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How Much Sleep Do Adults Need?

February 22, 2022

Everyone’s sleep needs are different. Tracking the sleep you’re getting can help you improve the quality and quantity of your sleep. WHOOP enables you to better understand your sleep needs and makes recommendations based on your daily routine.

By Casey Meserve

Sleep is essential to living a healthy life. Not getting enough sleep can cause more than simple tiredness. Chronic sleep deprivation can affect your health, memory, weight, and even your sex life. Sleep loss has led to more accidents and injuries on the job than any other cause, according to one study. Sleep deprivation may impact your attention span, reaction time, judgment, and decision-making abilities.

What we’re saying is that getting enough sleep is important. Adults generally need 7-9 hours each night, but there is so much more to it than that. Everyone has different sleep needs based on their own physiology and different baselines. The amount of sleep you need is personal and depends on several factors.

 

Factors Affecting How Much Sleep You Need

Sleep debt is a measure of how much sleep you get versus how much you need. For example, if your body needs 7 hours but you only get 5 you have 2 hours of sleep debt. Getting enough sleep each night can be a challenge, but not getting enough sleep may lead to consequences such as decreased alertness, poor concentration, anxiety, and reduced coordination.

Naps: Taking a nap during the day can affect your ability to fall asleep that night. That doesn’t mean you should avoid napping during the day. If you were short on sleep the night before, a nap allows you to catch up on your sleep debt.

A short power nap of 20 minutes or so can increase alertness and put you in a better mood. On the other hand, a long nap of about 90 minutes is generally the length of a full sleep cycle and will let you spend time in each sleep stage. If you’re sleep deprived, a 90-minute nap may enable you to feel rested and rejuvenated for the rest of the day. Many elite athletes make napping a part of their game-day schedule and training routine. Pilots from major airlines also use naps to handle red-eye flights.

Daily strain: Your daily activity can affect how much sleep you need at night. If you’re commuting, dealing with kids’ activities and homework, chores, and getting a workout in, you’ll need more sleep than if you spent the day on the couch. Exercise can also help you sleep more soundly and get to sleep faster.

 

Sleep Efficiency and Disruptions

You may spend 8 hours each night in bed, but you’re almost certainly not sleeping the full time. Sleep efficiency measures how much of that time is spent actually asleep. The factors above can affect your sleep efficiency.

WHOOP members tend to average 7:30 hours of sleep for every 8 hours in bed. Monitoring your sleep efficiency can help you understand how much of your time in bed is spent awake and make changes in your bedtime habits if you’re not getting enough sleep.

Health can have a major effect on sleep efficiency. Illness, chronic pain, and injuries may hinder your ability to get to sleep and sleep through the night. Chronic pain can cause frequent sleep disturbances and things like respiratory infections can leave you feeling unrested when you wake.

Sleep problems including sleep apnea, circadian rhythm disorders, and insomnia also affect how much sleep you’re getting.

Pregnancy impacts a multitude of systems and functions, including your ability to fall and stay asleep. In general, pregnant people need more sleep, but pregnancy can cause leg cramps, nausea, and increased resting heart rate and respiratory rate. Pregnancy may also cause obstructive sleep apnea and heartburn. All of these are disruptions that often result in low sleep efficiency and a poor night’s sleep.

 

Sleep Consistency and Tips for Getting More Sleep

whoop sleep performance bed wake times

Your sleep consistency is a measure of your bed and wake times. Going to bed and waking up close to the same times each day helps your circadian rhythm function.

Sleep consistency is an important factor in getting enough sleep. High sleep consistency means you are going to bed and getting up close to the same times each day. Low sleep consistency indicates a more variable night-to-night sleep timing. Just like it is for children, having a set bedtime is important for adults, too.

Keeping regular hours helps your body maintain its natural circadian rhythm, allowing you to feel tired around the same time each night. Your body likes routine and wants to anticipate the onset of sleep.

If you’re having trouble getting to sleep each night, having a bedtime routine can help you increase sleep efficiency and consistency.

READ MORE: Tips to Fall Asleep Fast

 

WHOOP Sleep Coach and Your Personal Sleep Needs

WHOOP sleep performance

WHOOP MEASURES YOUR NIGHTLY SLEEP PERFORMANCE, EFFICIENCY, AND CONSISTENCY, AND PROVIDED GUIDANCE ON GETTING THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF SLEEP.

The WHOOP Sleep Coach helps you establish a nightly routine by determining the best time for you to go to bed and wake feeling refreshed. The Sleep Coach uses all the elements listed above to calculate the exact amount of sleep you need each night. WHOOP factors your individual circadian rhythm, daily strain, and sleep debt, and also incorporates whether you want to get 100% of your sleep need, perform with 85%, or get by with 75% of your sleep need. WHOOP automatically tracks your sleep down to the minute including time spent in light, deep, and REM sleep, and when you’re awake.

Additionally, the WHOOP 4.0 is equipped with haptic alerts to wake you at the ideal time using gentle vibrations and minimize disruptions for your partner or roommates.

whoop sleep coach haptic alert

The WHOOP Sleep Coach calculates exactly how much sleep you need each night.

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Casey Meserve

Casey Meserve is a writer at WHOOP. Prior to joining WHOOP, they were an SEO Strategist at TechTarget, an editor at Patch.com, and a reporter for the Old Colony Memorial in Plymouth, Mass. Casey graduated from Bridgewater State University with a master’s degree in English Literature and from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts where they studied Journalism and played rugby. Casey lives in the woods of Rhode Island and enjoys growing vegetables and flowers for the deer to eat, running (slowly) and watching the Boston Bruins.

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