Americans are one sleep-deprived population - only a third of us get the minimum seven hours of sleep a night, as recommended by the CDC and the National Sleep Foundation. But how much is enough when it comes to sleep?
As it turns out, like many other health conditions, sleep is deeply personal. Some people insist on at least seven to eight hours of beauty rest, while some claim to only need four hours. Furthermore, how much sleep you need to feel rested may also depend on your stage of life. On the whole, people tend to need less sleep as they get older.
While it seems like there's no one size fits all when it comes to sleep, one thing everyone can agree on is that sleep is necessary for normal functioning. Without sleep everything goes awry - your eyes can't focus, your blood pressure skyrockets, and your brain starts to hallucinate. Keep this up and death may even occur, as is the result of a rare genetic disorder called fatal familial insomnia (FFI). This rare condition causes severe insomnia that eventually leads to dementia followed by death.