How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?
How long to snooze
Finding your own ideal sleep/wake cycle is key to healthy sleep, says Carol Ash, medical director of the Sleep for Life center in Hillsborough, N.J.
Lack of sleep harms health
In a British study, scientists also found that people who are consistently sleep deprived (defined as sleeping five hours or less a night) are at greater risk for high blood pressure and cardiovascular problems.
Insufficient sleep also raises your risk for obesity, diabetes, depression, alcoholism, and automobile accidents. Plus, a 2007 University of California–Berkeley study confirmed the obvious: Sleep deprivation directly affects areas of the brain that deal with mood and concentration.
Signs of healthy sleep
The most telling sign of a disorder is how you feel during the day. If you generally wake up alert and refreshed, you're a healthy sleeper. If you chronically wake up sleepy, irritable, and unfocused, you may have a sleep disorder.