We hear it all the time: most people are sleep-deprived. You can tell you’re not getting enough sleep if you’re sleepy during the day and need to catch up on sleep on the weekends. The question, though, is how much sleep it would take for you to not feel sleep-deprived. Is there a magic number that fits everyone?

In short, no. People are more complex than that, and we need different amounts of sleep at different times in our lives. Babies, for instance, can sleep up to 17 hours a day; school-aged kids need somewhere between 9 and 12. As we age, our needs fluctuate, so while you may have needed 8-10 hours when you were 18, you may only need about 7 by the time you’re 80.

There are some good reasons you probably need more sleep than you’re getting. You might think your body and mind are at rest while you’re sleeping, but in fact, they’re hard at work. Your body cleans away waste and harmful plaques that build up in the brain, while your mind processes emotions and experiences you had during the day, storing them as memories. Sleeping helps regulate your emotions, and it gives your body the opportunity to regulate essential functions like your appetite control, immune system, metabolic function, and ability to maintain a healthy weight.

Not getting enough sleep has harmful repercussions. Sleep-deprived people are less able to make good decisions, less creative, and more accident-prone. Lack of sleep can be detrimental to cognitive performance, make you feel more negative and less productive, and cause you to behave less ethically at work. It can also increase your risk of chronic conditions like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Poor sleep is even associated with a higher chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

So how can you tell how much sleep you need? For one week, go to bed 7.5 hours before your alarm is set to go off. If by the end of that week you’re not waking up five minutes before your alarm goes off, that’s not enough sleep for you. Move your bedtime back a half an hour for the next week, and see if that does the trick. Within a few weeks, you should have determined how much sleep you need. Unfortunately, if you’re a night owl or early bird, this experiment may not work for you.

If you’re not getting enough sleep because you need a new mattress, you owe it to yourself to check out Mancini's Sleepworld. Since 1969, the Mancini family has owned and operated their store in Sunnyvale, CA, selling brand name mattresses at fair prices and treating every customer with respect. Beginning an expansion in 1989, the Mancinis now have 33 locations across the greater bay area, allowing for same-day mattress delivery in most cases. To learn more about Mancini's Sleepworld, contact us through our website or call 800-647-5337.