The length of time a person needs to sleep in order to stay healthy and wake up refreshed however varies from person to person. Babies usually sleep for approximately sixteen hours a day, but this diminishes as children grow, and by adulthood it drops to around six or eight hours.
Some adults function well on five hours of sleep or less, and others seem to do better on seven hours or more. This will also vary within the individual, depending on what the person has been doing in the hours before going to sleep, as well as the current level of health.
However, anedotally at least, the main desire for sleep is because the person is tired, and on waking up, the person expects to feel refreshed. So perhaps the best way to judge how much sleep is required, depends on these two factors: When you are tired, go to sleep, and when you wake up refreshed, then get up.
This is how young children normally regulate their sleep. They fall asleep when they are tired, even if it is between the blaring speakers of a stereo, and if they wake up at 5am, do they think, “Oh, I’d better not get up yet because it is too early?” No, they bound out of bed and wake up the whole household. They generally have plenty of energy and vitality, and have little trouble with their sleep.
Many of the people who attend Buteyko courses usually fall asleep relatively easily because they are very tired, but when the next morning they are still tired. Some of them say that they feel worse in the morning than before they went to sleep.
This might be because they are waking briefly many times during the night or because they are awake for hours on end with insomnia. Fortunately once a person has had their breathing restructured by using the Buteyko method, they normally sleep a lot better.
“To have a better night’s sleep, to wake more rested, to have more energy, to be more hopeful of the future, and to be in control of my asthma, this is what the Buteyko technique has done for me.” Jenny