Without a doubt, a good night’s sleep is healthy for both our mind and body. It boosts our mood for the next day, the brain is more rested and we can concentrate better. What more does sleep do?
- keeps our heart healthy by lowering the blood pressure during the night
- lowers the level of sugar in the blood
- strengthens the immune system
But I believe that the most important thing is that when we are rested, the brain works better and we are more productive during the day.
An adult needs from 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night, but of course, some of us function just as well with 6 hours of sleep and some of us are the so called “long sleepers”, meaning people who constantly need 9 or more hours of sleep.
But we all know that we won’t always be able to get the necessary amount of sleep every night. So, it’s ok to sleep a little more on the weekends to recharge our batteries for the following week. Also, taking a nap may improve our day. Napping 2-3 times a week is fine but napping every day is a sign of a disorganized nighttime sleep. So, before thinking there might a more serious health problem, we should try to have an adequate sleep schedule. Personally, I can go for days with 6 hours of sleep at night and be just fine the next day or I can sleep 7-8 hours a night and still take a nap during the day. I think it depends very much on how busy I am. Sometimes I have so many things to do that I don’t have time to sleep or think about sleep.
But how about too much sleep? Is there such a thing? Well, yes! Some say that sleeping too much can be more harmful than not sleeping enough. Constantly sleeping more than 9 hours a night can hide another health problem (depression for example) or it can mean that we get poor quality sleep. I know very well what a bad sleep feels like. I had nights when I would wake up multiple times and hardly be able to go back to sleep. I think it was mostly because of stress or anxiety.
So, what’s so bad about sleeping too much for too long? From what I experienced, sleeping too much made me so unproductive during the day. I had no desire to get work done or to do any activity except lying in bed. I also read that sleeping too much can be associated with risk of heart disease, obesity or diabetes.
I admit, as a student, my sleep schedule can be a little chaotic sometimes, especially during final exams. I used to study late, get some sleep (6 or less hours), wake up and study again. At some point, it happened to me to read a paragraph and then be like “Wait, what did I just read?” and read it again. That was the moment I realized I was not getting enough sleep. But was I able to sleep more? No. I would wake up naturally in the morning, without an alarm because of the stress of not studying enough. So what could I have done except for getting up and start studying?
Sleep is an important factor in our lives. It’s part of our health and we should try as much as possible to have at least a decent sleep every night. Also, there’s no point in pushing ourselves into excessive studying when our brain just wants to rest. On the other hand, like I said, too much sleep also does no good. Each of us should find what sleep schedule suits us best and try to stick to it as much as possible.