By Josh Park
Sleep is probably the most time-consuming activity on the planet. When added up, (assuming the average person gets an average of eight hours of sleep per night) the time spent asleep is a little over twenty-six years.
Thus, sleep must be absolutely vital for us to function, seeing as though it’s lasted through adaptation and evolution of nearly every creature on planet Earth. And scientists have proven just how vital it can be, and how much sleep we should be getting every night. Spoiler alert, you’ve heard this amount before.
The amount of sleep needed for humans to perform at their peak is truly eight to eight-and-a-half hours. This has been proven time and time again by scientists. One such experiment tested how different people perform at cognitive tests when given limited amount of sleep. The goal was to figure out how little sleep someone could get away with and still get the same results in a test of cognitive performance and reaction time.
It turns out that missing out night of sleep is more damaging than you might think. Individuals in the experiment who went a full twenty-four hour period with no sleep performed the tests as well as they would have if they were drunk. Getting six hours of sleep isn’t much better; in a little over a week, those who were only getting six hours of sleep each night performed just as badly as those who went a day without a wink of sleep.
Even consistently getting seven hours of sleep turns out to have a noticeable effect, with test subjects dozing off three times more often than those getting the full eight hour amount a few days into the experiment.
As disheartening as this is, there’s nothing most of us can do about it. Life in today’s society often means that we sacrifice sleep before work, school, or socializing. However, as we discover more about sleep, it’s been proven time and time again that getting a full night’s sleep is very important, even if you aren’t noticing a decline in your cognition or memory. It’s impossible for your brain to get back what it’s lost due to sleep deprivation, and everyone deserves to function at their peak. Getting a full night of sleep makes this much more possible.