How Many Hours of Sleep Do We Need?
6 min read
Last Modified 2 September 2021 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. There are those who swear by 6 hours a night while others think 9 hours is about right. And therein lies the answer – there’s no single figure that’s correct for how much sleep we need.
Instead, the amount of sleep we need relates to our genetic makeup, where we live, how much sleep debt we have, our sleep cycle, and plenty of other factors.
That said, a good rule of thumb is that the younger we are, the more sleep we need. Here, we take a look at recommended hours of sleep for each age bracket before exploring other factors that influence how many hours of sleep you should be getting.
Your age is the biggest determination to how much sleep you should be getting, 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|
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 is your overall quality of sleep (specifically how much deep sleep you’re getting) as well as any sleep debt you may have and even pregnancy. If your sleep is interrupted a lot, you may need more hours of sleep as the quality matters more than the quantity. If you’ve been sleep-deprived and have lost a couple of hours each, you’ll likely be suffering from sleep debt and the need to sleep better.
Pregnancy also affects sleep. 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.
On average, it’s recommended adults get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. But, this isn’t one size fits all. Your body will tell you if you need to start sleeping more. For more information, check out our post Do We Really Need 8 Hours Sleep? or read on for some quick tips.
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 adapting these healthy habits during the day and at night can help you get more sleep. We’ll explore some tips below but for more information check out our post How To Fall Asleep Quickly.
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. Pay attention to your body, it’ll tell you what you need, but having a sleep routine won’t hurt!