How Many Hours of Sleep Do I Need?
6 min read
Last Modified 29 April 2022 First Added 21 July 2021
We spend one-third of our lives asleep, and getting a good night’s sleep is super important. Especially as it affects everything from our brain power and memory to our mood and energy levels. But ask two people how much sleep we actually need and you’ll likely get two different answers. Some swear by 6 hours a night while others think 9 hours is about right. If you find yourself wondering how much do I need, the truth is, there’s no single figure that’s correct for everybody.
Your age is the most significant factor determining how much sleep you need, although there’s no magic number as everyone is different. The key factor for understanding how much sleep you need is to listen to your body. If you find yourself groggy each morning, you may need to alter how many hours you get each night. That said, a good first step is using recommended hours as a starting point. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, these are the recommended hours of sleep by age group:
|Age Group||Recommended Hours of Sleep Per Day|
|Newborn||0–3 months||14–17 hours (National Sleep Foundation)1
No recommendation (American Academy of Sleep Medicine)2
|Infant||4–12 months||12–16 hours per 24 hours (including naps)2|
|Toddler||1–2 years||11–14 hours per 24 hours (including naps)2|
|Preschool||3–5 years||10–13 hours per 24 hours (including naps)2|
|School Age||6–12 years||9–12 hours per 24 hours2|
|Teen||13–18 years||8–10 hours per 24 hours2|
|Adult||18–60 years||7 or more hours per night3|
|61–64 years||7–9 hours1|
|65 years and older||7–8 hours1|
The recommended amount of sleep we need relates to our age, and also our genetic makeup, where we live, how much sleep debt we have, our sleep cycle, and plenty of other factors including how active we are in the daytime.
That said, a good rule of thumb is that the younger we are, the more sleep we need. Young toddlers aged 1 -2 years need 11 – 14 hours of sleep. Whereas the recommended amount of sleep for adults aged 18- 60 years is 7 hours or more. This is because toddlers are still in the process of growing and sleep is vital to support growth and brain development.
Sleeping may seem like your time to relax, rest, and dream; however, sleep has more impact on your health and lifestyle than you might think. Your quality of sleep is directly linked to and affects how you feel during the day as well as both your physical and mental health. Here are several reasons why a good night’s sleep is important:
Other factors that determine how much sleep you need are your overall quality of sleep (specifically how much deep sleep you’re getting) as well as any sleep debt you may have. If your sleep is interrupted a lot, you may need more hours of sleep to compensate for the lack of quality sleep you’re receiving. If you’ve been sleep-deprived and have lost a couple of hours of sleep, you’ll likely be suffering from sleep debt and will need to make up for this lost sleep time in a future sleep cycle.
Pregnancy also affects sleep and how much sleep you need each night. As a soon-to-be-mum, your body goes through a huge change in hormones and you may need extra hours of sleep to account for this. It also takes a lot of energy to nourish your baby and it can be difficult finding a comfortable sleeping position during pregnancy. Therefore, during pregnancy, especially in your first 3 months you may feel more tired and require more sleep than usual.
If you regularly don’t get enough sleep, you could end up suffering from sleep deprivation. If so, it’s likely your body will send signals that you need to increase your hours. These symptoms include:
Getting yourself into a routine and adopting these healthy habits during the day and at night can help you get more sleep. We’ll explore some tips below:
During the day:
If you can’t fall asleep, don’t worry, get out of bed and wind down until you start feeling tired and try again. If you often struggle to get back to sleep, read our article on how to get back to sleep in the middle night. Getting a good night’s sleep is important but remember there’s no magic number to how much sleep you need. Pay attention to your body and you’ll soon start to discover a recommended amount of sleep that’s right for you.