Is there a standard amount of sleep folks need? I typically sleep 5.5-6 hours per night and have for years. I do feel better with more but do not noticeably function better (may just be years of kidding myself).
It does seem easier to lose weight when sleeping more (diet and exercise staying constant). Does this make any sense or is it my imagination?
How old are you?: 46
Check all symptoms you are currently experiencing:
None of these
Are you currently using or do you have a history of tobacco use?: Yes
Are you currently using or do you have a history of illegal drug use?: No
Please describe your alcohol consumption :: Weekly
TOP THREE QUESTIONS:
typical need for sleep
short term impact of lack of sleep
recovery from lack of sleep (1 nights good rest, more?)
Your question is very complex. The issue about 'how much sleep is enough' does tend to vary from individual to individual and we are not sure why. First, let me point you to THIS SITE, which is, at least, an interesting read.
Two highlights from this site....
Though scientists are still learning about the concept of basal sleep need, one thing sleep research certainly has shown is that sleeping too little can not only inhibit your productivity and ability to remember and consolidate information, but lack of sleep can also lead to serious health consequences and jeopardize your safety and the safety of individuals around you.
For example, short sleep duration is linked with:
Increased risk of motor vehicle accidents
Increase in body mass index – a greater likelihood of obesity due to an increased appetite caused by sleep deprivation
Increased risk of diabetes and heart problems
Increased risk for psychiatric conditions including depression and substance abuse
Decreased ability to pay attention, react to signals or remember new information
According to researchers Michael H. Bonnet and Donna L. Arand, "There is strong evidence that sufficient shortening or disturbance of the sleep process compromises mood, performance and alertness and can result in injury or death. In this light, the most common-sense 'do no injury' medical advice would be to avoid sleep deprivation.
And on the other hand....
...some research has found that long sleep durations (nine hours or more) are also associated with increased morbidity (illness, accidents) and mortality (death). Researchers describe this relationship as a "U-shaped" curve (see illustration) where both sleeping too little and sleeping too much may put you at risk. This research found that variables such as low socioeconomic status and depression were significantly associated with long sleep. Some researchers argue that these other variables might be the cause of the longer sleep: the fact that individuals with low socioeconomic status are more likely to have undiagnosed illnesses because of poor medical care explains the relationship between low socioeconomic status, long sleep and morbidity/mortality. Researchers caution that there is not a definitive conclusion that getting more than nine hours of sleep per night is consistently linked with health problems and/or mortality in adults, while short sleep has been linked to both these consequences in numerous studies.
And as to the weight and sleep part of your question, well, that's a rat's nest indeed, but, as you may guess, there does appear to be a link between not-enough sleep, and obesity. THIS LINK here is pretty in depth and gets all doctor-y, but you will get the idea.
And to open another can of worms, there is a raft of medical evidence out there on CIRCDADIAN DISRUPTION... jet lag if you will.... rotating shift work.... Bottom line. It sucks. In fact, it's probably the main reason that I will pay to get out of night shifts in the ER.
More to follow.... this is hard to do on an Iphone.