How much sleep do we need?

How much sleep do we need?
4.6/5 - (26 votes)

Photo: John-Mark Smith

Published Gemma Dunn ⋅ Review Editor
April 11, 2022

Share this article:

We independently research and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate “Mattress Research” earns from qualifying purchases.
4.6/5 - (26 votes)

The “right” amount of sleep varies from person to person, and while your lifestyle or age can help determine what an appropriate amount of sleep is for you, factors like stress also play a part. For most adults, 7–9 hours per night appears to be the sweet spot since getting fewer hours routinely has been linked to adverse health outcomes ranging from obesity to cardiovascular disease.

While some teens need as much as 10 hours of sleep each day, and adults may only need seven (depending on their lifestyles), many factors affect how much sleep we need. Stress is one; when we’re under pressure at work or from our family life, it can be harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. Getting deep sleep’s therapeutic effects when stressed out is also more challenging.

How much sleep do we need and why?

From the moment you wake up, there’s much to do. You’ve got work to do and people to see. It’s easy to forget about sleep in the hustle and bustle, but you must take the time for it. Sleep is essential for your body and brain function during the day. It helps your body recover from a long day, especially if you’ve been physically active, like going on a run or playing tennis.

Sleep is also essential for your immune system to fight off germs and sickness more easily when they come around. Plus, proper sleep balances your hormones, which help you stay healthy and maintain your weight because they regulate when to stop eating and start getting rid of fat cells in the body. Finally, it can reduce stress because having proper sleep regularly will ensure you can deal with stressful situations better than those who aren’t getting quality rest each night. So be sure to get some shut-eye every night!

Newborns (0-3 months ): 14-17 hours each day

The most extended periods of sleep should happen at night, but a young baby will also need daytime naps. Infants may begin to sleep for longer stretches at night as early as 3 or 4 months old, but many still require several nighttime feedings until they are 6 months old. While newborns need incredible sleep, they are born with a biological predisposition to wake up frequently to eat. This is necessary for them to thrive and grow. Remember that this ability is hardwired into your baby’s brain, and it will take some time before they can fall asleep without needing that nighttime feed. In the meantime, you’ll need to recognize his hunger cues and respond appropriately so that he gets the nutrition he needs and you both get the sleep you need!

Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours a day

Once your infant gets close to 8 weeks old, they should be able to start sleeping through the night like an adult — around 10 hours. However, most do not reach this stage until about 3 months old. There are no magic tricks when it comes to helping your infant get enough rest — just patience, persistence, and consistency on your part

Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours

Infants need about 12-15 hours of sleep daily, including naps. They usually start sleeping through the night (around six to eight hours) at about two months old, but some may not be able to until they are four or five months old.

To help your infant sleep through the night, try establishing a bedtime routine, like reading a book or bathing together. You should also put your baby to sleep in a quiet, dark room. If your infant is still awake at night, try not to feed them whenever they cry. Instead, see if they will go back to sleep on their own.

Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours

If you have a toddler or young child at home, sleep is probably a big topic of conversation—or frustration—for your household. This age group is notorious for its wacky sleeping patterns, but the National Sleep Foundation says that for toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours each day is appropriate.

As with newborns and infants, it’s a good idea to help your child develop a regular sleep schedule that he can stick to, even on the weekends. Keep him on track by setting both a bedtime and wake-up time, and try not to let him nap too close to bedtime. Also, try not to put TVs or computers in your child’s bedroom; they don’t need the extra distraction!

Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours

Preschool-age children need about 10 to 13 hours of sleep each night. Younger toddlers (3-year-olds) tend to need more, while older kids (around 5 years old) are closer to the 10-hour mark. One reason is that preschoolers still nap during the day. Many 3-year-olds will still sleep for 2 hours daily, while 4- and 5-year-olds may only need 1 hour. Sleep problems are common in this age group, but there are things you can do to help your child get a good night’s rest:

  • Establish a regular bedtime routine
  • Make sure your child gets plenty of exercise during the day
  • Avoid sugary foods and drinks before bedtime

School-age children (6-13): 9-11 hours

The National Sleep Foundation suggests that children ages 6-13 get 9-11 hours of sleep each night. The younger a child is, the more rest they need.

If your child gets less than the recommended amount of sleep, it could affect their ability to learn and grow. They may struggle in school, fall behind their peers, and become ill more often. They may also have difficulty focusing on tasks and make errors due to a lack of attention.

Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours

Teenagers need 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night to function best. Further, teens require more sleep because their bodies and brains’ development during this time is so complex and vital. Even with the right amount of sleep, teenagers are more likely than adults to suffer from feelings of depression and anxiety. So while they might not show it, getting enough (and consistent) sleep could improve your teen’s mood and energy levels.

Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours

Young adults need around seven to nine hours of sleep each night to function at their best.

Suppose you’re wondering why you might feel more tired during the day than the rest of the population. In that case, you could be among the 15% of people who need extra sleep. These individuals have difficulty falling asleep before 11 p.m. and often wake up after 8 a.m., even if they went to bed early.

It is also worth noting that while most people’s sleep needs will not change throughout their lives, there is some evidence that older adults may require slightly less sleep than younger ones—perhaps due to changes in circadian rhythm or natural changes in hormones and ageing.

Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours

Adults (ages 26-64) generally need an average of 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Each person is different, and your sleep needs may change over time.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults should:

  • Sleep no less than 7 hours each night
  • Sleep between 7 to 9 hours for optimal health and function

Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours

Many older adults don’t get enough sleep. They don’t need less rest than younger people but tend to have more trouble sleeping as they age. This can be because of health problems or taking medications that interfere with sleep. Older people also tend to spend less time in deep sleep, the most vital stage of sleep. Memory problems in older adults are sometimes a symptom of disrupted or insufficient sleep rather than a sign of dementia. Some studies have shown that improving the quality and quantity of sleep for older adults may help prevent memory loss.

The amount of sleep we need varies from person to person.

The amount of sleep you need varies from person to person. Adults should get about 8 hours of sleep per night, but some might need more or less. People who feel sleepy during the day should talk with their doctor because they might have a sleep disorder.

Several factors affect how much sleep you need, including your age and if you have any health conditions. For example:
  • Infants generally require about 16 hours a day; teenagers may need as many as 10 hours per day, while adults usually require between 7 and 9 hours a day
  • Older people often find it helpful to take short naps during the day to make up for the fact that they typically don’t get as much sleep at night

Suppose you have a chronic condition such as arthritis or diabetes. In that case, your healthcare provider may recommend adjusting your activity level or taking naps throughout the day to rest when needed.

Share this article: