How much sleep do you really need? - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

How much sleep do you really need?

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Lakeland HealthCare Sleep Lab measures brain waves and body movements as part of its sleep studies Lakeland HealthCare Sleep Lab measures brain waves and body movements as part of its sleep studies
ST. JOSEPH -

If you're like most of us, you're probably not getting enough sleep. In fact, almost 70 percent of Americans say they don't get enough shut-eye. But exactly how much you need to perform at your best is under debate.

"I definitely don't get enough sleep," said hospital cafeteria employee Michael Glowacki. He says he normally sleeps 6-7 hours a night, but really needs more like 8 or 9 hours.

"It just makes work harder when you don't get enough sleep," said MRI technician Krista Leamer. She said she also needs 9 hours.

The CDC recommends 6 to 9 hours of sleep every night with 8 hours as the Holy Grail of a full night of rest.

"I've heard a lot about the 8 hours of work, 8 hours of sleep, and 8 hours of play that make up the 24-hour day," said Glowacki.

But growing research hints at a shorter optimal sleep time. That has the CDC taking a second look at its guidelines.

"We recommend that our patients sleep enough that they wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day," said Lakeland Healthcare Sleep Lab Supervisor Emily Caudell.

She says she's not surprised at the CDC's decision after seeing all the study results. It looks like most adults only need seven hours of sleep - not eight.

"So you should get out of bed as soon as your body wakes you up," said Caudell

That means no more snooze button. Studies also say sleeping more than you need can be linked to obesity, diabetes, heart problems and even a higher mortality rate.

"There are some risks with oversleeping," said Caudell.

To find your optimal sleep time, experts say try sleeping six hours for one week. See how you feel. If you wake up tired, then you're not getting enough sleep. Add 15 minutes every week until you wake up feeling energized. That's your peak time.

Even though the new guidelines reflect Americans getting less sleep than they used to, not everyone is buying into the seven-hour buzz.

"I don't think that sounds like enough time," said Leamer.

"Sleeping is one of my favorite things to do," said Glowacki. "So to hear that I don't need as much of it now, I'm kind of heart broken."

While it's tempting for most of us to catch up on lost sleep during the weekends, experts say that you should keep sleep times consistent the whole week.

It might feel great to stay in bed another hour or two, but the extra rest can disrupt your sleep cycle.

That can mean cognitive and memory issues during the following work week.

The new CDC sleep guidelines aren't expected to come out until 2015.

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