I regularly work more than 60 hours a week, and have wondered at times if I am getting enough sleep. I get between six and seven hours of sleep each night and had always felt that was enough. However, I had recently started to get more tired at work and became concerned that I needed to get eight hours, which is what I have usually heard was recommended. I went to my doctor one Saturday and informed him of the situation and asked for his advice. He had some very interesting things to say.
He said that if you sleep six or seven hours, you may or may not be getting enough sleep. The fact of the matter is, as he put it, how much sleep a person needs will vary from individual to individual and is by no means set in stone. He asked me how long I had been sleeping for six or seven hours a night. I told him that it had been years. He then asked how long I had been feeling run down. I told him that it had only been for the past few months, and that there could be a couple of other factors contributing to my tired feeling.
The first thing he wanted to check on was my thyroid. He said that there is a condition called hypothyroidism that can make a person feel like they are not getting enough sleep when that is really not the case at all. He did a blood test and informed me that I did not have that condition, and said that was a good thing for me. I agreed, but I was not sure how good it really could be because if it had been that, I would at least know why I felt tired all the time! So we moved on.
He asked if I was getting enough exercise during the day. He knows that I have a rather sedentary job, and wanted to know if the fact that I was not doing enough during the day was making it more difficult for me to get restful sleep during the night, which can also lead to that run-down feeling. I told him how much I worked out, and again, he said it was probably not that. He then tried something he had done for a couple of other patients that had great results. He recommended a multivitamin.
It seems funny to say this, but the multivitamin did the trick. As it turns out, I was getting enough sleep each night, but I was deficient in some type of vitamin or nutrient. My doctor informed that did happen sometimes in otherwise healthy men, and I was able to take care of the problem relatively easily.