T Nation

Sleep

How do I know how much sleep is optimal?

Not sure if this answers your question, but you know you have had enough sleep when you wake up without any external assistance. Most of us don’t have that luxury, however! Generally, people need about 8 hours of sleep a night.

When you wake up before your alarm?? (This seems to be my personal indication)…

When you are not “behind” in sleep, go to bed, dont set an alarm and see when you wake up. Chances are it will be after 7-9 hours, the general range of ideal sleep times for most people. Obviously doing this test the night after an all night party doesnt work so well, as you sleep longer to catch up!

Personally I aim for 8 hours. I can get by on 7 for a while, but 8 is better for us athletes. I could use 9, but it just isnt manageable most of the time.

Start logging how many hours of sleep you get per night. See if you find any tendencies between sleep time and gym performance (I’m assuming you keep a workout log), body composition changes, recovery, soreness and mood.

You’ll know you are getting enough when you stop asking these types of questions :wink: Kidding.
Personally I aim for 8 hours as well. When I consistantly get less than that amount I notice that my eyes get blood shot easily from working on a computer all day. Not to mention time seems to come to a crawl at work when I’m not sleeping enough. Although I find my workouts dont suffer too much. I’m sure this has to do with adrenaline. On the other hand it might be a factor which eventually leads to overtraining. =)

This is what confuses me: I think that the optimal amount of sleep is when you wake up automatically. But I read in an Ian King article that it screws up your recovery if you don’t wake up at the same time every morning. Im assuming that this is about synchronizing circadian hormonal rhythms. I need an alarm clock for that- and theres the deprivation problem.

But this is only a problem if the amount of sleep you need varies on different nights because if not you could just sleep late and then set your alarm for that time when you automatically wake up. I guess this would be the best thing to do.