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The Simple Trick to Discover Your Ideal Sleep Cycle

Do you have any idea how much sleep you need each night?

While we all know the old adage that one needs 8 hours of shut-eye a night to function, in reality there is a vast range of normal sleep times needed for humans to function effectively. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the majority of healthy adults need somewhere in between seven and nine hours of sleep per night, while those over 65 need seven to eight hours, and teenagers can need up to 10. 

Are you one of those people who can function on seven hours a night, or do you need the full nine? Stimulants like coffee, the bright screens of our mobile devices, and alarm clocks can disrupt our circadian rhythm, making it difficult to distinguish how much sleep is beneficial for our overall health and well-being.

According to Dr. Sigrid Veasey, a professor at the Centre for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine, discovering your ideal sleep cycle is best achieved by partaking in a simple - and enjoyable - activity: a vacation!

In an article for the New York Times, Dr. Veasey recommends taking an extended vacation to assess how much sleep you truly need. After a few nights of catching up on lost sleep and not being sleep deprived, the amount of time you end up sleeping is a good measure for the amount you'll need every night.

Our recommendation: put a little bit of work into your next vacation, and keep a sleep journal. Note the time you naturally fall asleep, the time you naturally awake, and your energy levels throughout the day. After 3-4 days of charting your natural sleep/wake cycle, you'll discover the ideal amount of sleep that your body needs.

So there you have it. Doctor's orders are in: take a vacation!