Quantity vs. Quality: Do You Need 8 Hours Every Night?

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We spend a lot of time asleep-- up to a third of our whole lives. And there's a good reason why. During that time spent in slumber, our bodies go into a restorative mode. Cells need time to recuperate. And the brain needs deep sleep to function at its highest level.

On the flip side of the pillow, an ongoing lack of sleep may make us more likely to get chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression, and dementia. Still, some of us would rather spend as much time awake as possible. But when it comes to sleep, you shouldn't short-change yourself in terms of quality or quantity, because both are crucial.

Adults should aim for around 7 to 9 hours per night in order to feel energized and alert the next day. The body goes through five stages of sleep during one night. You want to make sure that your body is completing all of the cycles that are intended in order to feel rested.

Studies are also showing that the quality also plays a big role. It's not just about how long we sleep but how good that sleep quality is for you. Some clues you're getting high-quality sleep-- you nod off within 30 minutes of going to bed, you don't wake up more than once overnight, and if you do wake up, you fall back asleep within 20 minutes. Cell phones, loud cities, house pets, and many more things can stir you out of sleeping more than you realize.

So do what you can to keep your room quiet, cool, and dark. And turn off screens at least 30 minutes before you hit the sack. This way, you'll improve your odds of getting the best of both worlds in terms of quantity and quality sleep.