Good sleep largely controls how you feel and how energetic you are. Sleep affects both mental and physical health. Sleep gives the body a chance to rest and rejuvenate, which strengthens its immune and nervous systems. At the same time, the brain gets both rest and the opportunity to process emotions and thoughts. Sleep is therefore very necessary as severe and persistent sleep disorders increase the risk of serious health problems, e.g. depression, infections, high blood pressure, stress, obesity, etc.

How long do we need to sleep?

People’s need for sleep varies. It also depends on people’s lifestyles, how they work, how much people exercise and also the need for sleep is linked to genetic factors. But on average, healthy adults need between seven and eight hours of sleep each night. Here you can see the sleeping needs of children and adults.

Adolescents need a.m.k. 8 hours of sleep a night, but high hormonal activity occurs during sleep in that age group. As adolescents become less drowsy at night for biological reasons, it is important to prevent long-term sleep deprivation in that age group.

Evidence of insufficient sleep?

Irritability, mood swings and lack of restraint are often the first signs of insufficient sleep. However, chronic sleep deprivation can cause the person to become apathetic and speechless, experience emotional numbness, poor memory and lack of concentration. Soon 5-10 second long naps become unavoidable – and then the person can be dangerous, especially if he is behind the wheel.


Other evidence of sleep deprivation: 

  • Fall asleep as soon as the head rests on the pillow.
  • You usually need an alarm clock to wake up.
  • Need to take a nap during the day.
  • Hard to wake up in the morning.
  • Poorer performance in studies, work and / or sports.
  • Increased clumsiness.
  • Difficulty with decision making.
  • Falling asleep at work or school.

Sleep advice

Research by the Public Health Institute (Heilsa og líðan, 2007 Opens in a new window) indicates that 23.6% of the population aged 18-79 sleeps regularly for only six hours or less at night. This means that some people may find it helpful to read the following sleeping tips:

  • Preferably go to bed and wake up at a similar time each day. If you get enough sleep on weekdays, you no longer need to sleep on weekends.
  • Reduce bedroom lighting and noise (eg TV and radio).
  • Try to keep the temperature in the bedroom between 20 – 24 ° C (but 18 – 21 ° C if an infant sleeps in the room).
  • Have an open window to ensure airflow in the bedroom.
  • A hot bath or shower shortly before bedtime can help some people fall asleep.
  • Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages (eg coffee or tea) a.m. four hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid smoking (especially just before bedtime).
  • Avoid alcohol before bed. (Although some people experience the relaxing effect of alcohol, it significantly reduces the quality of sleep.)
  • If you or your partner snores, there is a reason to seek help from a family doctor, as snoring can cause significant sleep disorders.
  • Daily exercise is good for both sleep and health (but it is best to avoid heavy workouts late at night).

Heimildir: Heilsuvera.is