When was the last time you woke up feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to take on your day? If you’re like most Canadian men, chances are it wasn’t this morning. You may have heard that not getting enough sleep can lead to a host of health risks like lower testosterone, poor concentration, and even a stroke

But what about guys who walk that edge between sleep deprivation and the bare minimum? Can some men really survive on six hours of sleep a night? Let’s take a look:

How many hours of sleep do you really need?

It turns out the amount of sleep you need depends on your age, genes, and lifestyle. The U.S.-based National Sleep Foundation brought together sleep specialists from every corner of the medical world and released a recommended sleep chart. There are no surprises here for guys between the ages of 26 and 65; you’re looking at 7 to 9 hours as your ideal sleeping window

Are 6 hours of sleep enough?

It’s true that some people can sneak in just 6 hours of shuteye each night and still kick some butt. The question remains, despite feeling okay, is 6 hours of sleep enough? In short, the answer is no, it’s not. Men need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep for their physical and mental well-being

Canadian men report less sleep than women on average, according to Statistics Canada. The reasons behind this phenomenon aren’t fully understood, but we do know things like young kids, work, stress, and a lack of exercise can eat away at the length and quality of your ZZZ’s.

Effects of sleep deprivation on the body

Sleep deprivation lowers testosterone levels in men. Lower testosterone equals erectile dysfunction. Have we got your attention now?

Did you know that your immune system repairs itself while you sleep? So, if you’re not getting enough of it, you’re putting yourself at risk for a serious case of man-flu. Besides getting the flu, being sleep deprived contributes to weight gain and can even put you at risk for type 2 diabetes, depression, and heart attacks.  

Sleep is only one lifestyle factor that puts Canadian men at risk, though. If you’re curious to know where you stand with your health, the free Men’s Health Check Tool will help you assess what you may be at risk for. It also suggests what lifestyle changes you can make to start reducing your risk and improve your quality of life.

How to figure out how much sleep you need

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The benefits of figuring out your individual sleep cycle are significant. Here’s how to know how much sleep you should get to feel amazing.

Cut back on caffeine: This is a painful test, but if you can stop masking your fatigue with coffee, you’ll figure out pretty quickly if your minimum sleep time is on point.

Limit alcohol before bed: Alcohol can also affect your sleep if you drink right before bed. So give yourself between two to four hours before hitting the sack to help you figure out your optimal sleep time. 

Use a sleep tracker: There are some pretty cool options these days that track your sleep. There’s the Fitbit Versa, which is a watch that tracks your sleep, and the Withings sleep mat that you can put under your mattress. Once you’ve noticed some patterns with your sleep schedule, take a minute to assess your mood when you first get up and a few times throughout the day. If you’re irritable or finding it hard to concentrate, try setting your bedtime back by half an hour for a week. Repeat as necessary.

Get active for at least 20 minutes a day: If you’ve got young ones at home, you’re probably LOL’ing at the mere suggestion of a good night’s sleep. For the rest of us, things like longer workdays, a lack of exercise, and even a crappy commute are taxing on sleep quality. If you’re lacking in the exercise department or feeling wired from your work stress, even a 20-minute brisk walk around the block can help you sleep better. 

Some guys can function fine on 6 hours of sleep a night, but 7 to 9 hours is the sweet spot for most guys. For an individual read on your ideal sleep time: track your sleep pattern, limit your caffeine intake, get a bit of exercise, and take note of your mood. The benefits of getting into the routine of a proper night’s sleep will have you feeling like a million bucks in no time.

What are your favourite hacks for getting in some solid shut-eye every night? Please share in the comments below!

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