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Sleep 6 to 9 Hours, Wake Up Happy and Satisfied


If you want to wake up happy and satisfied with your life, get 6 to 9 hours of sleep, according to research to be presented at SLEEP 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Tuesday, June 14 by the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC. This “normal” amount of sleep is associated with lower ratings for depression and higher ones for quality of life.

Getting the right amount of sleep is important

On the surface, sleep seems like a simple matter, but the need for and function of sleep are complex and not completely understood. Sleep has an impact on people’s emotional, mental, and physical health, and identifying the specific amount of sleep any one person needs to perform optimally is difficult to do because there are many factors that must be considered.

A new study has explored the impact of varying durations of sleep on quality of life and depression severity. Dr. Charles Bae, a neurologist at the Cleveland Clinic Sleep Disorders Center in Ohio, and his colleagues, evaluated data collected from 10,654 patient records. The study subjects (mean age, 52 years) completed standardized questionnaires for quality of life and for measuring depression.

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Normal sleep was defined as 6 to 9 hours per night, while short sleep was considered to be less than 6 hours and long sleep, more than 9 hours. Overall, the researchers found that people who slept 6 to 9 hours per night self-reported higher scores for quality of life and lower scores for depression severity compared with people who slept less or more.

Bae noted that “these results are important because they provide more information about the importance of getting enough sleep, which is usually six to nine hours per night.” The results were the same regardless of age, gender, race, or marital status.

What the researchers found surprising was that the decline in quality of life and the increase in depressive symptoms were similar among both short and long sleepers. Bae noted that although people usually recognize that too little sleep has a negative effect on health, “they may not realize that sleeping too much can also have a negative impact.”

Overall, if you want to wake up happy and satisfied, your chances are much better if you get 6 to 9 hours of sleep per night. In fact, a higher percentage of study subjects who slept for 6 to 9 hours reported having perfect health.

American Academy of Sleep Medicine, abstract no. 0771