There are three types of people in regards to sleep, and in my experience they are fairly well proportioned one against another. There are people that sleep too much, there are people that sleep too little, and there are people who get the amount of sleep that their body needs.
Sleeping too much will leave you lethargic and is a collossal waste of time. Now and again your body may need to catch up and recharge, but it is very easy for some people to stay in bed for 9 or 10 hours when they would be perfectly happy and healthy with 7 or 8 hours of sleep. Some of the people in this group may actually sleep that entire time, while others (probably most) actually have trouble sleeping because they get too much of it and their body tries to tell them this by having them toss and turn night after night. These sort of people might wake up in the morning and then not get out of bed for 2 hours.
Sleeping too little means that your body does not have an opportunity to recharge itself and get itself ready for the coming day. People who sleep too little tend to live very busy lives or have very active night lives combined with an early morning schedule. They will drag for the better part of the morning and may require a cup or three of coffee to even approach being sociable in the morning or to get their minds working on anything more complicated than brushing their teeth. These sort of people are short changing their health, as they will tend to get more stressed out and will have a more difficult time fighting off colds.
Sleeping only as much as your body needs is obviously the most healthy and time efficient method. The amount of sleep one person needs could be quite different than for another person. My fiance usually needs around 8 hours of sleep, while I can get by on 7 hours of sleep. In fact, I find it difficult to sleep for more than 7 hours to 7 and a half hours. The trick is finding out what works best for you and then sticking with it. Adopting a regular sleep schedule can make it much easier to get the right amount of sleep every night.
Sometimes, how much sleep you need can change based on how old you are, how active your lifestyle is, or even how active you were during a particular week or if you are trying to fight off an infection of one sort or another. Your body will tell you when it needs more sleep, and it will be easier to heed those warnings and recognize them if you get the right amount of sleep on a regular basis. If you sleep too much or too little, then your body’s warnings can more easily go unrecognized.
How much sleep do you normally need to get every night? How much sleep do you actually get?