How Much Sleep Do You Need?
If you follow the news at all, you have likely seen news reports regarding sleep. For years, eight hours was the magic number thought to leave anyone feeling rested and rejuvenated. Today, scientists all over the world debate the validity of that claim. Questions abound. Does everyone need eight hours of sleep? Can eight hours really keep every person of every age feeling great and functioning optimally?
As the conversation continues, along with the research, one thing is true, sleep is a fundamental requirement for humans and their overall health and well-being, regardless of their age. And yet the question, “how much sleep do you need?” remains. It is a valid question, one that deserves an answer.
Sleep is vital to a living a healthy life. A good night’s sleep is important, but just how much is enough? Very few adults go to bed early enough to get a full eight hours of sleep, leaving many sleep deprived, without the rest needed to function at their highest level. Many have no idea what it feels like to be truly rested and refreshed following a good night’s sleep.
In addition, adults add in habits that are detrimental to the natural sleeping and waking cycle. Caffeine in soda, energy drinks, and sodas provide the energy needed to stay awake longer. Then, exhausted, sleep aids are used to get to sleep. On top of that, the lights from electronic devices like computers, smartphones, and tablets are always on disrupting sleep cycles further.
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
The amount of sleep you need depends on your age, your overall health, and your lifestyle. The National Sleep Foundation is the expert and, as such, has developed a sleep needs spectrum which helps you determine the answer while factoring in the items that effect both the quantity and quality of your sleep like work and stress.
Research recommends sleep needs based on a number of studies as well as these factors:
- How You Feel. Are you tired, ill, or unproductive on a daily basis even after seven hours of sleep? Do you get sleepy when driving to and from work? Do you need caffeine to get through your workday? If the answer is yes, you likely need more sleep than you are getting.
- Pregnancy. Pregnancy causes changes that actually increase the need for sleep.
- Quality of Sleep. Do you have problems falling asleep? Do you wake up frequently during sleep? If so, you aren’t getting quality sleep – a factor which is just as crucial as the quantity.
- Age. As you age, you still need adequate sleep, as much as younger adults. The issue is older adults tend to sleep lighter and for shorter intervals.
- Sleep Deprivation. If you fail to sleep well for the needed amount of time, you become sleep deprived and need even more sleep.
And now, to answer the question, how much sleep do you need, here is the National Sleep Foundation’s (backed by research) recommendations of appropriate sleep quantities by age group. Keep in mind, this is only a guide.
- Newborns 14 to 17 hours
- 1-year 10 hours nightly plus naps
- 2-years 11 to 12 hours nightly plus one nap
- 3 to 5-years 10 to 13 hours nightly
- 6 to 13-years 9 to 11 hours nightly
- 14 to 17-years 8 to 10 hours nightly
- 18 to 25-years 7 to 9 hours nightly
- 26 to 64-years 7 to 9 hours nightly
- 65 and above 7 to 8 hours nightly