Less can be more: Expert reveals how much sleep we need for optimal health

If you ever lie awake stressfully counting the hours of sleep you'll manage to snatch if you could only just drop off, we've got good news - you may not need as much sleep as you think you do. 

Getting enough shut-eye is crucial for mental and physical health, but a sleep expert says six hours of deep sleep is better than nine hours of tossing and turning. 

"There is no magic number for how much sleep we should get," Lisa Artis, Deputy CEO of The Sleep Charity told The Sun. 

"Experts believe that most adults require somewhere between six and nine hours in order to feel refreshed and to function well both mentally and physically."

But she says it's important not to get too hung up on "sleep quantity but focus on sleep quality" instead.

"For example, it's better to get six hours of uninterrupted sleep than eight hours of disturbed sleep."

Artis said for everyone it's individual, and you're better to judge how you feel rather than some arbitrary number on the alarm clock 

"The best way to ascertain if you're getting enough sleep is to look at how you feel the next day," she explained. 

"If by 10/11am you're still feeling tired and are fuelling yourself with caffeine to get through the morning, then chances are you're not sleeping well. 

"If you feel productive and happy, then chances are you are sleeping just fine."