Is it true that everyone needs 8 hours of sleep everyday?

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Conventional wisdom has taught us that we need eight hours of sleep to function properly. There is also a very popular mantra, which advises 8 hours of work, 8 hours of leisure, and 8 hours of rest. Human sleep has largely remained a mystery. We do know how important it is, as getting too little of it can result in a host of health issues. It does not only increase the risk of metabolic disorders and Type 2 diabetes but also makes one vulnerable to autoimmune diseases, psychiatric disorders, neurodegeneration, and many types of cancer.

Sleep helps a number of critical body and brain maintenance functions that cannot be performed when we are awake. On average, humans function well with eight hours of sleep every night. However, the exact length of sleep is usually dictated by the individual genes. While some need only 7 hours of sleep, others may require close to 9 hours. But, as a general rule most individuals need at least 6 hours of sleep per night.

There are many celebrities and politicians that claim they need only 4 or 5 hours of sleep per night. It could very well be a possibility that they are chronically sleep-deprived. However, exceptional cases do exist although very rare. There are some individuals with a genetic variant that allows their brain to function more efficiently on less than 6 hours of sleep. The best way to determine the amount of sleep you need is by allowing your brain to dictate it for you. If you generally feel sleepy during the day, then it is important to increase the amount of sleep.

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