Sleep scientists might have just gifted you an extra hour every day. As the Wall Street Journal reports, a compilation of new research suggests that seven, not eight, hours is the ideal length of shuteye.
According to one of many studies cited in the article, “People who reported they slept 6.5 to 7.4 hours had a lower mortality rate than those with shorter or longer sleep.” Another study from the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found that brain performance peaked for those who got seven hours of snooze time.
Setting a hard and fast rule for how long you should sleep has been notoriously difficult. As Men’s Fitness has previously advised, “Lifestyle and activity levels play a huge factor—the harder you live, the more sleep you need—so you’ll have to figure out your own personal sweet spot.”
Whatever your sleep needs, recent findings suggests you need to find a balance. Too little sleep will negatively affect your health and productivity the next day, but too much might indicate bad sleep quality or an illness.
For the hardcore snooze-thusiasts, the WSJ also highlights a study that put participants in “stone-age” conditions. It turns out when forgoing electricity, an alarm, and all sense of time besides sunlight, the average amount of sleep is around 7.2 hours.
Now go sneak in another hour-long workout with that extra time.