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How to Get on a Sleep Schedule

Not everyone needs as much seven to nine hours of snooze time—find your personal sweet spot.

If you feel refreshed after sleeping for seven to nine hours, then there’s no need to change your habits. But some people simply don’t need that much slumber. The key is to listen to your body’s needs. Suspect that you’re sleeping too much? Use the following tips to cut back and see if it helps you feel better the next day.

For starters, try going to bed when you’re actually tired. And when you wake up in the morning, don’t just lie around in the sack—expose yourself to light and get moving. If you tend to wake up before your alarm goes off, try getting up whenever you wake up naturally. Whenever you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep within 20 minutes, get out of bed and engage in a quiet, relaxing activity such as reading a non-stimulating book or listening to soothing music in dim light until you feel sleepy again.

It’s important to note that if these tips don’t help or if you wake up feeling exhausted most mornings, as opposed to refreshed, an underlying medical issue (such as sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, depression, or something else may be to blame). In that case, talk to your doctor and ask for a referral to a sleep specialist, who can help you figure out what’s compromising the quality of your sleep and how to fix it.

Remember, each person has different sleep needs. Just because your spouse feels good after nine hours of sleep each night doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to spend as much time in the sack to feel your best. Follow the above tips and chat with your doctor to figure out your individual sweet spot. That way, you can feel more energized and alert all day long—without spending unnecessary time in bed at night.