Sunday, September 20, 2009

How Much Sleep Is Normal and How Much Sleep Should I Get?

Difficulty falling and staying asleep can indicate the presence of a medical issue that needs to be addressed by a physician. If you are experiencing some sort of sleep disturbance, consult with your doctor first to eliminate any medical causes.

Difficulty falling asleep is most often related to anxiety. The more anxiety you’re feeling the more difficult it may be for you to fall asleep. Anxiety can also interfere with our ability to remain asleep. You may have noticed that during times when you are feeling anxious, you may frequently wake up at night, sometimes as frequently as every hour.

It is considered normal for adults to wake up once or even twice during the night. Sometimes this kind of waking is misinterpreted as a problem with sleeping. However, it is normal and rather common.

Our sleeping patterns actually change over the course of our lives. As new born babies, for instance, we do not distinguish day from night in regards to sleep. We would wake up to interact whether it was the middle of the night or the middle of the day. As newborns, we had not yet developed the sleep pattern that allowed us to sleep throughout the night.

By the age of four months, we began to sleep more during the night than during the day. Over time, we eventually adjusted to sleeping through the night and being awake during the day.

At this very early age, we slept about 12 hours a day. This is normal. As we became older we required less sleep. From adolescence into adulthood we generally require eight hours of sleep to feel rested in the morning. By the time we reach our late 50’s and 60’s we require much less sleep. Usually only five or six hours is enough.

Requiring less sleep as we get older is not a sleep disorder. It is a natural part of life and you would do better to accept it rather than fight it. Trying to make yourself get more sleep will only make you more anxious and interrupt the quality of the sleep that you actually do get. It will probably have the opposite effect and cause you to get less sleep.

For more information on getting enough sleep and to listen to free samples of Dr. Walton’s self-help hypnosis album for falling asleep at night, log onto You can also follow his tips of the day on Twitter@LAtherapist For more information on Dr. Walton, log onto

1 comment:

La Belette Rouge said...

Very interesting! I tend to be a very early riser. I do think that for me it tends to be hormone related and occasionally mood related. That said, I do think that I am a bit of an early bird by temperament. Early a.m. is my favorite time.