Why 7-8 Hours Of Restorative Sleep Is Essential To A Productive, Healthy, And Long Life

Consider a disease called FFI, or Fatal Familial Insomnia, caused by what is known as a prion protein disease of the brain, this killer deprives a person of the ability to sleep. It always results in death within several months to a few years. Fatal insomnia has no cure and involves progressively worsening inability to sleep, leading to hallucinations, delirium, dementia, and eventually, and without fail, death.

You’d think that throwing sleeping pills, and even strong drugs like barbiturates at a patient with FFI would be helpful…not so, in fact 75% of the time, it shortens lifespan even more. It’s an empirical example fo the fact that lack of sleep can cause death…even if it is in the most extreme cases.

The effects of sleep deprivation rapidly magnify the longer a person stays awake. Without sleep after 48 hours, a person’s cognitive performance markedly worsens, and crushing fatigue begins to dull the edges of the mind and exhausts the body to the point where everyday tasks become impossible.

And slightly beyond 48 hours, the brain will start entering short periods of complete unconsciousness, also known as micro-sleep. You could be sitting upright, eyes open, but like a West World android plugged in to its charger, staring ahead into space, you are the undead. Like a laptop in sleep mode, you are no longer functioning until someone “taps your screen”.

Immediately sleep deprivation begins to take its toll on your physiology.It first attacks the immune system, reducing T-cell count, causing a surge in stress hormones, and your finely tuned biology descends into madness.

Studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep, meaning 7-8 hours per night, are much more likely to get ill after being exposed to a virus, like a common cold or a norovirus (intestinal virus). Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you bounce back if you do get sick.

We all cut corners with things like exercise, eating clean, even allowing life stressors like relationships, children, pets, and coworkers infiltrate our minds.

I’d always thought that our need for sleep, much like our desire for food, drink, and social contact, was an individually scaled need, depending upon our own unique biology. Some people need a little more, older people need less, right?

Your age, whether you are sedentary or active, your particular job, whether or not you are hyper, all combine to determine how much sleep you need, and if some people seem to function well on five hours a night and others need ten, that’s just biology, right?

A study of the sleep hygiene of more than 10,000 individuals around the world suggests that the amount of sleep adults need is essentially the same, regardless of dozens of variables. This global survey, published in the medical journal, Sleep, reports that adults need at least 7 to 8 hours a night to prevent fatigue and a dulling effect on cognitive function.

When we cut corners on on sleep time, higher-order cognitive function—such as the ability to visualize complex patterns and solve even basic computations, is compromised.

Sleep Journal, as described in Wikipedia, is a monthly peer-reviewed medical journal covering research on sleep. Topics include basic and neuroscience studies of sleep, in vitro and animal models of sleep, studies in clinical or population samples, clinical trials, and epidemiologic studies.

The author of the study, a researcher at The Brain and Mind Institute at the University of Western Ontario, sorted out how a research team coordinated by neuroscientist Adrian Owen incorporated thousands of people into the online study. It was put together using social media and marketing through the BBC, gathering attention world wide.

More than 40,000 people from 148 countries signed up.

Many were culled from the group because of insufficient data, and each participant completed a detailed online questionnaire about their lifestyle, personal stories, medical histories, and sleep patterns.

Once their sleep habits were recorded, the participants completed a battery of 12 mental acuity tests. Complex puzzles assessed spatial, verbal and short-term memory as well deductive reasoning, ability to maintain extended attention span, planning skills, and clear expression ability.

The results were jaw dropping and stunning. Half of the sample group regularly slept less than 6.4 hours of sleep a night, an insidious marker that was associated with impaired problem-solving, out of focus reasoning, and poor verbal acuity. Participants who slept less than six hours a night failed to answer questions based on spatial rotation or grammatical reasoning correctly, and simply failed to complete very general tasks than those who got a full night’s rest.

Missing the occasional few hours here and there is one thing, but a sustained schedule of less than 6-7 hours of sleep each night is highly toxic and devastating to the your body. According to the study, getting four hours of sleep or less for an extended period is equivalent to stripping away eight years of your life, making it almost as toxic as smoking.

Guess what? Your body responds well to sleep, and offering even one night of a solid 8 hours can repair some of the damage. In the Sleep study, participants who slept for more hours than the previous evening, substantially improved their test scores all across the board.

What’s a key element to reducing insomnia and improving sleep patterns, so that you get 7-8 hours of restorative and energizing sleep? The right mattress. Having the perfect nest and adopting the best sleep habits for your own biology and your own creature comfort profile is mission critical. That’s why we’ve put together a list of our nine most popular mattresses that we personally recommend.

We call it our best of the best category. Nine mattresses, each unique in its design, the materials used, the quilting and covering, and the feel of each. One of them will likely work for you. Take a look and consider one of these options.

Carefully vetted and researched, our editor, Marc Anderson, a bedding industry CEO, mattress designer and engineer for more than 25 years, personally selected these mattresses to provide the comfort, support, natural sleep inductive qualities, and pressure relieving elements you need.