How many hours of sleep is necessary in a day?
Internal medicine specialist Dr. Suchismita Rajamanya says that six to seven hours of sleep will be enough for you to be well rested and re-energized.
“Adequate sleep is needed to support various vital functions of the body and promote optimal physical and mental performance. During this time, the body undergoes essential restorative processes, such as tissue repair, and muscle growth. Additionally, adequate sleep plays an important role in regulating hormonal balance, immune function, and metabolism,” she says.
According to the 2023 Sleep in America poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, approximately 65% of adults who are not satisfied with their sleep patterns are experiencing mild or severe depression. So, while we’ve always heard that a good night’s sleep helps you in the next day, there are many other benefits of a good night’s sleep.
Another study published in The Lancet states that diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, depression and cancer are linked to sleep disorders.
How long does it take for the body to recover after a sleepless night?
Sleeping more is the only way to help your body recover from a lack of sleep at night. However, it will take several days for the body to make up for missed sleep. “It’s not a good idea to be sleep deprived even for 24 hours,” warns Dr. Rajamanya.
She says lack of sleep can affect your daily life. “Not getting enough sleep can lead to lack of concentration, irritability, drowsiness and decreased productivity. The resulting drowsiness can impair coordination and reaction time, increasing the risk of accidents and injuries. Additionally, decreased productivity and performance at work or school can further compound the negative effects of sleep deprivation,” she adds.
When does sleepless nights become a matter of concern?
A study published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine states that not getting more than 17-19 hours of sleep has the same effect on the body as having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05%.
“Not getting enough sleep is a matter of concern when sleepless nights begin to affect our ability to function normally. They can impair our thought process and concentration, and interfere with tasks like driving and lifting heavy objects, which can be dangerous. They also have a significant impact on our mood,” says Dr. Rajamanya.
6 tips to get through the day after a sleepless night
If you’ve gone through an inevitable sleepless night, try these practical tips to enjoy the next day.
1. Stay well hydrated
A study published in Sleep states that if you are tired throughout the day after a sleepless night, you should drink extra water. According to research, people who slept six hours a night had more concentrated urine and were more dehydrated than people who slept eight hours. Eating healthy also helps in getting good sleep.
2. Reduce laborious work
While there are mixed opinions on whether you should work out after a sleepless night, this study published in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics suggests that less than eight hours of sleep can increase the chance of injury by 1.7 times.
3. Avoid activities like driving
After a sleepless night there will come a day when you will be less alert. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention records that, in the US, 6000 car accidents per year are caused by lack of sleep.
4. Avoid caffeinated beverages
Consuming too much caffeine may cause you trouble sleeping the next night! A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine states that consuming caffeine six hours before bedtime can significantly affect your sleep.
5. Try taking a power nap
A power nap is a period of 10-15 minutes of sleep. A study published in Progress in Brain Research states that napping not only helps you not feel sleepy, but it also helps improve your cognitive performance.
6. Avoid taking any important decisions
Dr. Rajamanya says that if you are sleep-deprived, doing any activities that require concentration will become extra difficult and should be avoided.