Dr. Janet Kennedy talks about whether or not you really need 8 hours of sleep.
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Hi, I'm Janet Kennedy. I'm a licensed clinical psychologist and sleep specialist in New York City. You can find out more about me and my work on my website, nycsleepdoctor.com. Most people think that they need eight hours of sleep and that's certainly what we hear a lot in the media. Eight hours is essentially an average though; some people need less and some people need more. Aspiring to get eight hours can create a lot of anxiety. Some people tend to get worried if they're not sleeping eight hours and then they do a lot of things that undermine their sleep in the first place. If you think you have to get eight hours and you start going to bed super early before you're really tired, then it's probably going to take you longer to fall asleep than it would have if you would have just waited until you were sleepy. That's because the anxiety about getting enough sleep can keep you awake. People also do things like thy stay in bed too long the next day, or they take naps trying to make up for sleep because their not getting eight hours and that could make a sleep problem worse. The body tends to regulate itself, if you get up at the same time everyday, you're going to start getting sleepy at the same time every night and you're going to start getting the right amount of sleep for you. Essentially, if you get seven hours and you're healthy and you feel good, that's probably what you need. The key is really to give yourself enough time to sleep. To make sure your lifestyle allows the time you need. Forcing yourself to get eight hours just isn't necessary.