According to the old adage, healthy sleep requires a full eight hours to work its magic—to rest your body, organize your mind, imbue you with energy, and regulate your mood. Not to mention smooth, calm, and brighten your skin (beauty sleep is real, people!). So until now, I took that magic eight number as scripture, aspiring to snooze away eight hours each night in the name of happier and healthier days.
According to a new survey conducted by Amerisleep, however, I’ve been sleeping longer than I have to. At least when it comes to gaining those precious mood benefits. In fact, I’ve been sleeping 54 minutes too long. That’s right—researchers surveyed over 2000 participants to find the exact time—down to the very minute—it takes for sleep to most effectively boost your happiness. Keep reading to learn how long you should be sleeping in order to become your happiest self.
The exact amount of sleep you should aim for is seven hours and six minutes. Participants who slept this long rated themselves “perfectly happy.” People who slept for seven hours rated themselves “mostly happy,” and those who slept for six hours and 54 minutes reported themselves as being “somewhat happy.” As Country Living reports, “people who got less than six hours and 48 minutes of sleep marked themselves as having unhappiness within their relationships, as well as anxiety.” Clearly, the mood benefits of sleep come down to a numbers game. Even a couple of extra minutes can make a marked difference in emotional well-being.
Keep in mind, though, that quality of sleep is equally as important as the length of sleep. The survey showed that “participants who meditate or take a shower before getting into bed got the best sleep.” So take your time to wind down each night, and create a nighttime routine that relaxes both your mind and your body. That way, after a quick seven-hour, six-minute snooze, you’ll likely feel your happiest and healthiest.