Sufficient sleep is required for peak performance (e.g., physical, mental). Both the amount of sleep and the quality of the sleep matter for positive outcomes. That said, the amount of sleep you need varies from person to person. For young adults (age 18-25), 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night are recommended. However, individual sleep needs vary from 6 to 10 hours, so make sure you know how much sleep you need to function efficiently.
Sleep for a healthy mind and body
Uninterrupted sleep is important to experience periods of rapid eye movement (REM), which are necessary for learning, problem solving, and storing memories
Impaired or inadequate sleep can impact:
- reaction time
- mood (e.g., irritability, impatience, and depression)
Signs you're not getting enough sleep
You can find out how much sleep you need by reviewing the following questions:
- Do you have trouble waking up in the morning?
- Do you sleep 2 hours or more later on weekends than during the week?
- Do you fall asleep during the day (e.g., in class, studying, etc.)?
If any of the answers to these questions is "yes", it could be a sign that your body needs more sleep, consistently.
Tips for a good night’s sleep
- Establish regular sleeping patterns (going to bed and getting up around the same time everyday)
- Avoid going to bed hungry or full.
- Get regular exercise (3-4 times per week), but not right before you plan to go to sleep – mid-afternoon is best.
- Use your bed only for sleep (and sex). Avoid using it to study, eat, chat with friends, etc.
- Make sure your room is dark (e.g., use a sleep mask, close shades) and quiet (e.g., wear earplugs), and the right temperature (cooler temperatures are better).
- Take naps before 3 p.m. and for less than an hour.
- Eat foods rich in the amino acid L-tryptophan (e.g., milk, turkey, tuna) and carbohydrates (e.g., bread, cereal).
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and large amounts of sugar.
- Take warm shower or bath.
- Read a book, or some other calm activity.
- Go to sleep and get up around the same time every day to set your body’s rhythm.
- Practice relaxation techniques before bedtime. Deep breathing and visualization techniques can help you relax and facilitate sleep.
- Avoid sleep-disturbing substances like alcohol and caffeine. Alcohol creates the illusions of good sleep but can impact REM and overall sleep quality.