How Much Sleep Do You Need?

Woman Asleep

Sleep-quality affects both your physical and mental health. Sleep loss can make a huge difference to your mood and energy levels. And your ability to deal with stress. So, how much sleep do you need? What is the recommended amount of sleep? Here’s a guide…

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

How many hours should you sleep?

Determining how much sleep you need depends on a number of factors. These include your age, fitness, and other medical conditions such as pregnancy. There’s a simple process you can carry out to define your needs:

  • Measure how much sleep you’re getting each night and make a note
  • Go to sleep 15 minutes earlier every couple of nights – until you’re getting 7 hours every night
  • If you’re still tired during the day move bedtime back another 15 minutes
  • Carry out this process until you’re getting enough sleep – between 7-9 hours

How much sleep do teenagers need?

Teenagers are quite unfortunate in having a circadian rhythm that shifts after puberty – making them want to go to bed late and wake late! This makes it quite rare for this age range to get enough quality sleep.

The recommended guide for teenagers is 8-10 hours but studies have shown that less than 20% of teenagers actually sleep for more than 8.5 hours. Making up for sleep loss at the weekend only increases the problem – falling asleep and waking at the same time every day is a top tip for achieving the best sleep possible.

Avoiding the use of electronic devices late at night is also advocated – and often ignored by teenagers. But the absence of sleep can cause skin issues like acne, poor decision making and choices, lack of focus, and emotional issues with parents and peers.

If it becomes difficult for your teenager to get enough sleep even after following the advice to maintain a regular sleep schedule, avoid oversleeping on weekends, and stopping internet use at bedtime, suggest a nap of 15-20 minutes in the afternoon. Or speak to an adolescent physician if your teenager is suffering from academic performance, cognitive ability, or drowsy driving.

How much sleep do adults need?

Young adults and adults alike benefit from 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Although there are many reasons why this may not happen. Including:

  • Daily stress from work and family life
  • Eating and drinking caffeine too late in the evening
  • Lack of daily exercise
  • Inconsistent sleep schedules
  • Problems of comfort with the mattress and pillows
  • Using electronic devices before going to bed

When you’ve had a good night’s sleep, you should wake up refreshed and with enough energy to function properly.

How much deep sleep do you need?

A sleep cycle provides different benefits – deep sleep allows the body to carry out any repairs and build up energy for the following day. Rapid eye movement sleep usually occurs about 90 minutes into your sleep and lasts about 10 minutes. The brain becomes more active and your pulse and breath-rate increase. And this is the time when you’re most likely to dream.

How much deep sleep should you need? REM sleep is important but deep sleep is essential for feeling rested and staying healthy – and you need one to two hours of deep sleep within every eight hours of nightly sleep. During deep sleep, blood sugar levels and metabolism balance out, your brain detoxifies, and your immune system is energised.

Average deep sleep by age ranges up to 25% for babies and children – and reduces as you age as you require less deep sleep.

Without deep sleep, you cannot function properly, and sleep deprivation may become an issue. You can have as much deep sleep as you like!

Is 5-Hour sleep enough?

The simple answer to this question is no. Seven hours is the lowest recommended sleep time you need for sleep duration and health. Lack of sleep can make you less productive and rely on sugar and caffeine to keep your energy levels up.

Sleep deprivation also triggers falling asleep after eating. And while reading or watching the television. Or you simply crash and sleep for hours at a time. A lack of restful sleep can also increase hormone levels that stimulate your appetite – so weight gain becomes an issue. And the less you sleep the more you eat.

Is 7-hour sleep enough?

For some adults, seven hours of sleep may be enough. Women need on average about 20 minutes more – possibly due to busier schedules and multi-tasking that requires more recovery.

Adults aged 65 and over may need to nap during the day to catch up on quality sleep missed during the night. This can be caused by medical conditions or sleep fragmentation due to having to visit the bathroom in the night.

Chronic sleep loss can result in a failure of neurons that are responsible for alertness and cognition. So, aim for at least seven hours of sleep each night.

Baby and man asleep

Sleep Time Suggestions

The recommended amount of sleep is shown in the chart below. And follows a world-class study that took over two years of research undertaken by leading scientists forming the National Sleep Foundation. Individual needs may differ slightly according to personal health issues, productivity, and current sleep problems.

AgeHours Needed
Newborns (0-3 months)14-17 Hours
Infants (4-11 months)12-15 Hours
Toddlers (1-2 years)11-14 Hours
Pre-school (3-5 years)10-13 Hours
School age (6-13 years)9-11 Hours
Teens (14-17 years)8-10 Hours
Young adults (18-25 years)7-9 Hours
Adults (26-64 years)7-9 Hours
Older adults (65+ years)7-8 Hours
Woman Sleeping

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

As well as good diet and daily exercise there are effective tips to ensure you get all the quality sleep you need to maintain that healthy lifestyle:

  • Ensure your bedroom is the ideal temperature – with minimal sound and light
  • Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows
  • Get into a calming bedtime ritual
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol
  • Switch off electronics
  • Keep to a sleep schedule including weekends
  • Try to reduce the amount of stress in your daily life
  • Practice meditation and relaxation training to help improve sleep quality

Products to help you sleep range from prescription medications to sleep monitoring sensors with active audio features and coaching programmes. Remember, if insomnia is a problem for you, there will be a solution.

Henry Warren I am a professional writer and health & wellness enthusiast.