Although you can clock more snooze time if you feel like you’re not getting enough sleep, as Serafino did—or like Dunlop, cut back if you’re overdoing it—you can’t train yourself to get by on less (or more) sleep than your body actually needs.
“Although the average adults needs seven to eight hours of sleep, some adults are longer and shorter sleepers,” says Dr. Ancoli-Israel. “This is genetically determined, so you can’t change it or teach yourself to need more or less of what your body naturally requires.”
So how can you determine exactly how much sleep your body needs? “It’s the amount that allows you to function at an optimal level during the day, meaning you’re not dozing off or fighting to stay awake in the movie theater or during a boring meeting,” she says. “You should be able to get through the day without having to drink coffee or energy drinks.”
While getting the right amount of shut-eye may be a Herculean task for some, if you had to choose between staying up to watch late night reruns of “SNL” and upping your chances for a longer, healthier life simply by getting a good night’s sleep, you already know which one to pick.
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