How much sleep do you need?
You feel like you’re always going to bed early, but when your alarm goes off, it’s hard to open your eyes and you’re in a fog all day. You may feel like no matter how much sleep you’re getting, you’re still tired. But how do you know how much sleep you need?
How much sleep you need varies by age. While newborns under three-months-old may need up to 17 hours of sleep and adults over 65 may need as little as five hours, most adults need about seven to eight hours of sleep a night, according to the Sleep Health Foundation. While not getting enough sleep can hurt your health in these sneaky ways, oversleeping and constantly being tired can be a sign of a problem.
“Oversleeping means that you are sleeping for more than 10 hours on a consistent basis,” says Dr Conor Heneghan, director of research and algorithms at Fitbit. “Oversleeping has been correlated with certain health conditions, such as depression, but it is not a known cause of any health disorders. While irregularities in the body’s sleep clock may play a role in mood, returning to a consistent sleep cycle is a focus area to get the body back on track.”
If you’re getting enough sleep on a good schedule or are even oversleeping and still feel tired, it could be a sign of health problems.
You’re tired because… you’re oversleeping on weekends
You may think skimping on sleep during the week and oversleeping during the weekends will help you feel well rested, but it’s actually hurting your sleep. This habit is called ‘social jet lag’ which is brought on by shifts in sleeping schedule during the week versus the weekends.
“While the recommended average sleep time for adults is seven to nine hours every night, often we may try to catch up on sleep during the weekends,” Heneghan says. “Your body will attempt to recover from the effects of sleep deprivation by having ‘rebound’ sleep – typically associated with longer overall sleep time, increased deep and REM sleep, and reaching the REM sleep state more quickly. However, oversleeping can offset your cycle and has been linked to other health risks.”
You’re tired because… you’re anaemic
When you visit your doctor and complain of feeling tired all the time, the first things they’ll often check for is anaemia or thyroid disorder because you can detect those with a blood test, says Dr Amy Shah. “When a patient says ‘I’m tired,’ it’s such a broad term and could be so many things, but if someone says ‘I’m tired and feeling a little more short of breath,’ or, ‘I’m having trouble exercising,’ that tends to be anaemia.” Anaemia is when your blood doesn’t carry enough oxygen to the rest of your body and the most common cause of anaemia is iron deficiency. Anaemics may also experience feeling cold, dizzy, irritable, or have headaches in addition to feeling tired.