Some of us struggle with sleep because we put too much pressure on ourselves to fall asleep. Instead of lying in bed and relaxing, we worry about whether we'll fall asleep and grow increasingly frustrated with every minute that passes. Hardly the recipe for a successful night's sleep.
One reason why we worry is because we hear that we should be getting eight hours of sleep each night. That's a lofty target for many of us and being such an arbitrary number it adds an additional burden on those of us who manage to get to sleep, but for only five or six hours (or less). Instead of celebrating and feeling happy that we got a few hours, we still feel angry and frustrated because we didn't get the recommended eight hours.
Well perhaps today we can take some of that pressure off. Although previous studies found that a sleep duration of between six and a half and seven and a half hours was associated with best survival, researchers from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine found that middle aged to senior women who got between five and six and a half hours of sleep were the most likely to still be alive after 14 years.
So, as long as you're a woman and you're getting at least five hours of sleep, it looks as though you have nothing to worry about. In fact, a sleep duration of between 5 and 6.5 hours was the average for women living in San Diego.
Unfortunately we're still waiting for some comforting new research for our male readers.
Source: UC San Diego
Last updated: August 23, 2011