By Nike Training
Track your day to see if you're catching enough Zzzz's
There's a good reason you've always heard that eight hours is the magic number for a night's sleep: research supports it. "Some people need 9–10 hours to feel good, though. If you're training hard, you need a little more sleep than usual. The scary thing is, most people only clock 6–6.5 hours", says Shona Halson, a recovery expert and Associate Professor at the Australian Catholic University's School of Behavioural and Health Sciences.
The best way to see how many hours you need is to write down when you go to bed and wake up to calculate how many hours you tend to get. Watches and other tracking devices that monitor sleep can be unreliable and tend to overestimate the time you were asleep. Once you see how many hours of sleep you're averaging a night, track how you feel during your waking hours, Halson says. "When you wake up, how do you feel? Do you need several cups of coffee to get going?"
"In the evening, when you're watching TV on the couch, do you doze off? If so, add half an hour of sleep a night until that's not happening".
If you naturally feel good when you start your day, that's a great indicator you're getting enough sleep, but it's also important to track how you do in the late afternoon and evening. "On your drive home, when you stop at a traffic light, do you zone out and feel like you might nod off? In the evening, when you're watching TV on the couch, do you doze off? If so, add half an hour of sleep a night until that's not happening", says Halson.
When you feel alert from the time you wake up until the time you get ready for bed, that's your perfect number.
Make It a Habit: We challenge you to start measuring and evaluating your sleep, so you can know your baseline. Leave a notebook next to your bed and commit to tracking for a week. When you wake up in the morning, write down your sleep and wake times. Once or twice a day, jot down if you're feeling tired and the time of day. Each time you write in your sleep journal, do a quick mental congratulation ("Nice job!"). After a week, you'll be able to look at the data and implement Halson's advice about adjusting your bedtime up by 30 minutes a night until you're no longer tired during the day.