By Laura Skladzinski

Medical experts typically recommend seven to nine hours of shuteye per night for adults, and even more for kids. But everyone needs a different amount of sleep,

Not getting enough sleep on a regular basis can contribute to a condition known as “sleep drunkenness,” which leads to feeling groggy and disoriented. But we weren’t dreaming when we felt more tired after snoozing longer than usual — sleep drunkenness can happen when we get too little sleep and too much sleep. In both cases, sleeping more or less than usual can upset the body’s circadian rhythms, which regulate sleep cycles.

Like sleeping too little, oversleeping has also been linked to some serious health problems. Research suggests sleeping more than eight or less than seven hours per night is associated with an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.  Those who sleep less than five, or more than six hours per night also show an increased risk of mortality.

Unfortunately, it’s not so easy to figure out the ideal amount of sleep for everyone. To find the right amount of rest, it might be necessary to experiment. Lame as it may seem, start setting an earlier bedtime than usual until it’s possible to wake up without an alarm clock. Once you start sleeping about the same amount every night, you’ve figured out how much rest you need on a regular basis.

Keep in mind that not sleeping enough can have some scary consequences, too: Going 24 hours without any sleep can impair functioning just as much as a blood alcohol level of 0.1 percent! Sleep debt can also mask an individual’s basic sleep needs — so if it’s been busy season with all-nighters, wait until it’s been a week or two of normal sleeping before trying to note any patterns. Until sleep debt is paid back, it’s fine to sleep longer than usual; one study found that just one 10-hour sleep session significantly improved cognitive function following five nights of sleep deprivation.

Everyone needs a different amount of sleep that depends on genetic and environmental factors. “Sleep drunkenness” can happen when we sleep too little or too much, and too much sleep is linked to an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and other health issues. Oversleeping can be a sign of hypersomnia, which can sometimes result from popping over-the-counter painkillers. At the same time, sleep deprivation can have serious consequences, too.

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