Although the average adult requires about eight hours of sleep per day, it really varies depending on the individual itself. Having said that, no matter how much sleep you got the night before, if it’s not enough, you will feel the effect the next day.

So how do we know if we’ve had enough sleep? Well, we can determine it by analyzing two things. Firstly, you need to ask yourself whether you are normally sleepy throughout the day. The second thing you need to ask is how fast you actually fall into sleep after lying down.

If you are always sleepy in the day and that you take more than five minutes to fall asleep at night, then you might actually be sleep deprived or even have a sleeping disorder. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke reports at least 40 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders yearly and 20 million more experience occasional sleeping problems.

Sleep Disorders

These are some common sleep disorders:

Insomnia – This problem may arise from stress, diet and other factors. Millions of people have suffered from insomnia sometime in their life. Mild or short term insomnia can be overcome by practicing good sleeping habits. In more serious cases however, doctors may apply other methods of therapy they see fit.

Sleep apnea – is what is known as interrupted breathing during sleep. It may occur due to fat buildup or muscle tone loss as we age. During sleep, it may trigger loud snores; a person may snort or gasp, then continue snoring in their sleep, sometimes this repeats hundreds of times a night. With that, the oxygen intake also decreases and leaves a person continually sleepy with headaches, poor mental health and changes in personality like irritation and depression. Sleep apnea is also linked to high blood pressure and the risk of heart attacks and stroke.

Restless Legs Syndrome – it’s one of the most common disorders namely in older people. It causes the feeling of unpleasant prickling or tingling sensations in the legs and feet. It urges the person to frequently move them for relief.

Narcolepsy – are frequent “sleep attacks” that occurs various times in a day regardless if a person had had enough sleep. They can last anything from a few seconds to more than half an hour. When awaken, a person may experience loss of muscle control during emotional situations, hallucinations and temporary paralysis. Narcolepsy is said to be hereditary, although it is linked to brain damage in a head injury or a neurological disease.

In all cases, it is essential to get professional advice from a medical doctor.

Why do we need enough sleep?

Sleep is vital for the restoration and renewal of our body in order for the nervous systems to function properly. Insufficient sleep leaves us drowsy and tired and tends to interfere with our work lives, in driving as well as our daily activities.

If this continues, it will not just affect our physical being but also our memory performance and cost us to have mood swings and hallucinations.

Sleep also gives the body a chance to repair itself as our cells show increased production during deep sleep.