Why do experts go on about sleeping for 8 hours? Well, there’s a scientific answer that we’ll get into, but we don’t actually think that’s the most pressing question. More to the point: is the UK getting enough sleep? The answer is simple: no.
You should be getting about 8 hours in bed every night. The UK is actually getting closer to 6. That’s why we’ve teamed up with England’s fastest rising rugby star, Maro Itoje, to inspire and coach everyone to bring their 8 game using the Simba Sleep App.
Why 8 hours?
It’s all to do with sleep cycles. Most of us need around five a night, and they last for something in the region of 90 minutes each. And you need all of them because they’re not identical; although every cycle includes every stage of sleep, you get more deep, non-REM sleep to begin with, and then more dreaming, REM sleep closer to waking up.
But wait! 90 minutes x 5 = 7.5 hours, no?
Yes! But 8 is great for a number of reasons:
- Everyone’s sleep cycle length and total need for sleep is a little different. It nets out at between 7 and 9 hours a night, so 8 is a good average for everyone to aim at.
- If you aim for a solid 8 hours in bed you also give yourself time to drop off and wake up naturally, even if you actually sleep for 7 hours and 30 minutes.
- It’s close to the mark and easy to remember.
What’s the problem if we don’t get it?
You’ve definitely heard at least some sleep deprivation horror stories. But we’re focussed on what getting enough sleep could give you. One often overlooked benefit of getting proper rest is better performance. Elite athletes have known it for decades: everything from mental focus to team spirit to muscle building can be improved by getting good quality sleep every night.
Maro puts it like this: "Sleep is directly linked to how much energy I have, my performance and my output in the gym and on the training field. It’s always been hugely important to me."
So how are Maro and Simba helping us raise our game?
We’ve pulled together a crack coaching team to tackle one sleep obstacle at a time, and broken down their genius into easy chunks for you to follow in the Simba Sleep App.
Each week, Jamie Roberts— yes, Welsh rugby legend Jamie Roberts, who is also a doctor, so clearly has been getting plenty of quality sleep— and award-winning fitness journo Peta Bee will take you through a quick, fun video which sets out a challenge when it comes to sleep. There’ll be tips and advice for making positive tweaks to your behaviour and schedule, and then you can make tracks (literally).
The app is free, easy to use and doesn’t need any wearables, though you can use an Apple Watch if you want to. Just pop your phone near your side of the bed and take a look at your vital stats in the morning.
Everyone starts out as an amateur, but as the weeks go on you’ll tackle trickier areas of your life and learn how to win at sleep at every level.
What’s in it for me?
What, apart from the mental and physical health benefits and performance boost from better sleep? Oh, alright: you can also have an exclusive £100 Simba discount voucher when you track your 7th night and be entered into a draw to win a Simba bundle and Saracens hospitality experience (Ts & Zzzzs apply). Will that do?
Where do I start?
Find out more and download the app (yes, an Android version is coming very soon).