How Many Hours Of Sleep Do I Need?
How Many Hours Of Sleep Do I Need?
Find out how many hours of sleep you need each night, and why, along with tips for falling asleep faster and staying asleep longer.
The health benefits of sleep are very well documented. Sleep is an integral part of maintaining positive health and wellness. It’s a necessary component of life that works to recharge our minds and our bodies. Most of us know that sleep is very important, but a lot of us wonder, “How many hours of sleep do I need?” Well, the answer is a little different for everyone, so let’s find out.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults that are generally healthy only need 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Other factors like age, existing health conditions, and your activity levels can all impact how many hours of sleep you need every night. For example, older adults only need about 7 to 8 hours of sleep. It’s not much different than healthy adults, but slightly lower. Let’s look at all the recommended hours of sleep for different age groups.
Recommended Hours of Sleep By Age
Age is a big determining factor when it comes to the number of hours of sleep you need. Babies, for example, need more sleep because they’re going through so many stages of growth and development. Here is what the National Sleep Foundation recommends for hours of sleep based on age.
Newborns - Ages: 0 to 3 Months - 14 to 17 Hours per 24 Hours (Including Naps)
Newborn babies need more sleep than any other age group. The internal processes of cognitive and physical development need extra hours of sleep to power those processes. They aren’t going to sleep for 14 to 17 hours straight, but they will need about that many hours of sleep within a 24 hour period.
Infants - Ages: 4 to 12 Months - 12 to 16 Hours per 24 Hours (Including Naps)
Infants need slightly fewer hours of sleep than newborns. Infants are still going through the stages of infant growth and require many hours of sleep. If you’re a parent, you know how irregular an infant’s sleep patterns can be. Regular naps and feeding times can help regulate their sleep patterns.
Toddlers - Ages: 1 to 2 Years - 11 to 14 Hours per 24 Hours (Including Naps)
When children reach toddler age, the number of hours of sleep needed per night continues to decrease. This is when children begin to develop more cognitively, and sleep plays a vital role in healthy cognition development.
Preschool - Ages: 3 to 5 Years - 10 to 13 Hours per 24 Hours (Including Naps)
Preschool-age children need almost as many hours of sleep as toddlers. During this time, children go through several stages of cognitive, physical, and emotional development. Getting the right amount of sleep helps with all of these different stages.
School Age - Ages: 6 to 12 Years - 9 to 12 Hours per 24 Hours
Once your child is old enough to go to school, the number of hours of sleep needed stops including naps. However, naps are still a great way to make sure your child is getting enough sleep in a 24 hour period.
Teens - Ages: 13 to 18 Years - 8 to 10 Hours per 24 Hours
Teens still need more sleep than adults, but not as much as younger children. The recommended hours of sleep for teens don’t include naps either, but naps at this age are still perfectly normal. This is a sensitive sociological and emotional growth period where the right amount of sleep can help.
Adults - Ages: 18 to 60 Years - 7 or More Hours per Night
Once children reach adulthood the number of hours we need each night drops down to 7 or more. Some adults need more than 7 hours of sleep, while others may require more, depending on factors like health and activity levels. This doesn’t change until we start reaching older age.
Older Adults - Ages 61 to 64 Years - 7 to 9 Hours per Night
When you pass 60 years of age you start to need more hours of sleep each night. It is normal for older adults to sleep more, but many older adults have trouble sleeping. This is where naps can start to become more important, and could be why your grandparents are always “resting their eyes” in their favorite chair during family get-togethers.
Seniors - Ages 65+ Years - 7 to 8 Hours per Night
Seniors over the age of 65 need about the same hours of sleep as older adults. Not much changes between 60 years old and 65 years old. However, there are a few studies that have linked getting the proper amount of sleep in old age with improved cognitive functioning, including memory. This can be a concern for many seniors, and sleep is a great way to keep your memory functioning properly.
How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?
All of these hours of sleep recommendations are backed by scientific research, but everyone is different. Some of us need more sleep than others. These are just general guidelines for how many hours of sleep you should attempt to get each night, but they may be different for you.
Your sleep habits and patterns, daily activity level, and overall health can all impact how much sleep you need. Here are a few questions that can help you determine if there are any reasons you should be getting more sleep.
Do you have a sleep disorder?
Having a sleep disorder that disrupts your sleep cycle can be detrimental to your health. If you’re not sure whether you have a sleep disorder or not, but you have trouble sleeping, consider seeing a sleep professional. Warning signs for sleep disorders include things like snoring or waking up gasping for air.
Do you have any other medical conditions?
Other medical conditions, like diabetes, heart conditions, or respiratory conditions can impact your sleep quality. They can also mean that you need more sleep than the recommended guidelines are. If you think you may have a medical condition that is contributing to a loss of sleep hours, talk to your doctor about your concerns.
How active are you during the day?
If you play sports or work a job that is labor-intensive, your body is going to need more rest than people who are less active. This is because sleep is important for repairing muscle tissue as well as refueling your brain for the next day. If you’re overly active during the day and find yourself feeling tired frequently, consider getting a few more hours of shuteye. This can include naps during the day.
Tips to Fall Asleep Faster and Stay Asleep Longer
People who feel like they need more sleep always want to know how to fall asleep faster and/or stay asleep longer. We reviewed some of our best sleep guides to bring you our tips for doing just that.
Stick To A Bedtime
When you go to bed at the same time every night, it makes it easier for you to fall asleep. The internal processes that regulate our sleep cycles are influenced by our behavior. By picking a set bedtime and sticking to it, you make it easier for your body to know when to begin those processes. This way, when you lie down to go to bed, your body will be tuned to your timetable.
Create a Bedtime Routine
Setting a specific bedtime is a great start to creating a bedtime routine. Some other things to consider are what you do before your bedtime. Doing things like turning off electronics, avoiding blue light from electronic device screens, and even brushing your teeth are all great activities to add to your bedtime routine. This is another way you can help set your internal clock to know when it’s time for lights out.
Get a Comfortable Mattress
Trying to sleep on an uncomfortable mattress can make it hard to fall asleep, and even harder to stay asleep through the night. This is why we recommend getting a mattress that you find comfortable. Consider mattress features like cooling technology if you’re a hot sleeper. Cooler temperatures are well known for making it easier for people to fall asleep and stay asleep. The materials used in your mattress make a big difference here too. Look for comfort features like memory of gel foams and pillowtops that add extra cushion and pressure relief to keep you comfortable even when you change sleeping positions.
The Number of Hours of Sleep Verdict
Clearly, there are a number of variables that affect the number of hours of sleep you need every night. Your age, health, and physical activity all have a direct effect on how much sleep you need. Getting good quality sleep can be difficult enough, and getting the right number of sleep hours can be just as challenging. However, the tips we’ve listed above are an excellent starting point to make sure you get the right amount of sleep every single night.