How to tell if you're not getting enough sleep - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

How to tell if you're not getting enough sleep

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - "I find myself tired throughout the day. I try to take little naps to catch up," said Emily Young.  Young says she gets about 6 hours of sleep a night.

"On a really good night, I'll probably get seven and I can tell. I feel better, I feel more energetic," said Meshayla Payne.

Meshayla Payne says 7 hours of sleep a night doesn't always happen, and adds it's easy to tell when she doesn't get enough.

"It's harder to get out of bed in the morning, it's harder to concentrate," said Payne.

"Sleep is an essential part of life," said Dr. David Nichols.

Dr. David Nichols is a doctor at NEA Baptist Clinic Center for Sleep Disorders.  He says everyone has a certain number of hours of sleep needed to perform well each day.  He adds that number is different for everyone.

"If you look at the population as a whole, that number will probably spread over a bell-shaped curve having in the middle, somewhere between 7 and 8 hours. On the long side, probably somewhere between 9 and 10 and on the short side, perhaps 5 to 6," said Dr. Nichols.

One of the best ways to tell if you're getting the right amount of sleep, Dr. Nichols says, become a good observer of how you're performing.

"That's not so easy, but typically a brain that doesn't sleep well will have three areas that it acts out in," said Dr. Nichols. He says those three areas are feeling sleepy, irritability, and cognition.  He says ask yourself how well you remember things or solve problems. 

Dr. Nichols says looking back may be what it takes to realize how much  sleep you need going forward.

"You just ask yourself what time do I recognize I need in bed to know that I perform well the next day. That could become a rough estimate of that," said Dr. Nichols.

"I try to cram stuff that I would do at night in the afternoon, so I can go to bed earlier," said Young.

"There are not enough hours in the day," said Payne.

Copyright 2011 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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