10 May How Much Sleep Do You Need?
How much sleep do you need in Ramadan??
You have probably heard the oft-repeated recommendation that everyone needs 8 hours of sleep a night. You also probably regularly sleep less than this recommended amount, and seem to function just fine. The reality is that your body’s sleep needs are unique, just like your caloric intake. Everyone is different. You need enough sleep to satisfy YOUR body’s need to recover and recuperate.
Too little sleep and you may experience compromised performance at work, diminished concentration in worship, irritability, and other negative symptoms. Too much sleep and you may feel lazy, and even begin to have trouble falling asleep in bed!
Diagram from The National Sleep Foundation, Sleep.Org
- The National Sleep Foundation released the results of a world-class study that took more than two years of research to complete – an update to our most-cited guidelines on how much sleep you really need at each age. You can read the research paper published in Sleep Health.
Notice that the chart above provides ranges that may be acceptable for your body based on your age group. Most individuals will likely fall into these average ranges in terms of how much sleep your body needs.
In order to further narrow down on the right amount of sleep for YOUR body, the second step is to check in with yourself and ask yourself some important questions, according to sleep researcher Kurt VonRueden (4):
How do I know how much sleep that I need? Look and pay attention to these warning signs:
- Overwhelming tiredness
- Communication difficulties
- Hunger that is difficult to satisfy
- Easily triggered and intense emotions
- Low stress tolerance
- Poor concentration and ability to focus
- Falling asleep in less than five minutes
If you feel alert and awake throughout the day, consistently sleep comfortably, and if you don’t have symptoms of excessive sleepiness, you may be getting enough sleep for your body.
However, if you constantly feel tired throughout the day, if you fall asleep immediately as soon as your head hits your pillow, and if you struggle with distraction, irritability, have difficulty concentrating, and struggle to get to bed, these signs indicate that you may be depriving your body of sleep and would benefit from additional sleep hours.
Another option to test whether you are sleep deprived is with the Home Sleep Latency Test.
- Sleep latency is the time spent when you shift from being awake to falling asleep. To conduct this test, find a comfortable place to sleep and a volunteer to watch you and record the time. After conducting this test three or four times during the daytime hours, determine the average amount of time that it takes you to fall asleep. Once you know how long, you can compare it to Table 1 to see where you are at with sleep debt.
Another test you can do to assess your level of sleep deprivation is The Epworth Sleepiness Scale, which is a self-administered questionnaire with 8 questions to assess the ‘daytime sleepiness’ of patients, developed by Dr. Murray John in his own private practice of Sleep Medicine.
Rate yourself on the following questions from 0-3 on the likelihood of you falling asleep in the following situations:
A score of 9 or 10 may indicate that you are very sleepy and thus need to improve your sleep! (5)
Determining the right amount of sleep for YOUR body takes some trial and error, and checking in with your energy levels and feelings of tiredness throughout the day. Use the tests listed above to help you assess yourself. Many people used to the modern “always-on” style of living may be suffering from constant, chronic sleep deprivation, and have forgotten what it feels like to be well-rested!
Taking time to relearn how your body responds to increases in sleep hours is a valuable pursuit in the weeks leading up to Ramadan to determine the optimal level of sleep for you.
Now, what do you do if you haven’t been sleeping enough, and have accumulated what’s known as a SLEEP DEBT? The next article is THE most important for Ramadan! Learn how to REPAY your sleep debt so you can makeup for long nights in Ramadan, while still feeling well-rested!
Healthy FOOD, EXERCISE and SLEEP must come together for your HEALTHIEST Ramadan ever! Luckily, we’ve got you covered!
The Ramadan Reset eBook is your complete solution to healthy eating, exercise, sleep, coffee and so much more in Ramadan! With 90 dietitian-created recipes, full fasting fitness schedules for ALL levels, your Ramadan will never be the same! Click HERE to learn more!
- BaHammam, Ahmed. (2007). Does Ramadan fasting affect sleep?. International journal of clinical practice. 60. 1631-7. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/
- BaHammam, A. (2003). Sleep pattern, daytime sleepiness, and eating habits during the month of Ramadan. Sleep and Hypnosis, 5, 165-174.
- Harvard Health. (2018). Repaying your sleep debt – Harvard Health. [online] Harvard Health. Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/
- VonRueden, K. (2014, September). Sleep Deprivation in the Workplace: The Hidden Side of Health and Wellness. In ASSE Professional Development Conference and Exposition. American Society of Safety Engineers. Available from: http://www.asse.org/
- Winter, W. C. (2017). The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep is Broken and how to Fix it. Penguin.
- Asarnow, L. D., McGlinchey, E., & Harvey, A. G. (2015). Evidence for a possible link between bedtime and change in body mass index. Sleep, 38(10), 1523-1527.
- Knutson, K. L., & Van Cauter, E. (2008). Associations between sleep loss and increased risk of obesity and diabetes. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1129(1), 287-304.
- Broussard, J. L., Kilkus, J. M., Delebecque, F., Abraham, V., Day, A., Whitmore, H. R., & Tasali, E. (2016). Elevated ghrelin predicts food intake during experimental sleep restriction. Obesity, 24(1), 132-138.
- Broussard, J. L., Wroblewski, K., Kilkus, J. M., & Tasali, E. (2016). Two nights of recovery sleep reverses the effects of short-term sleep restriction on diabetes risk. Diabetes Care, 39(3), e40-e41.
- Greer, S. M., Goldstein, A. N., & Walker, M. P. (2013). The impact of sleep deprivation on food desire in the human brain. Nature communications, 4, 3259.