How much sleep do you need by age?
The quality of your sleep at night directly affects your mental and physical health and how well you feel during the day. Sleep impacts your productivity, emotional balance, brain and heart health, immune function, creativity, vitality, and even your weight. No other activity delivers so many benefits with so little effort!
When you’re scrambling to meet the demands of a busy schedule, though, or just finding it hard to sleep at night, getting by on less hours may seem like a good solution. But even minimal sleep loss can take a substantial toll on your mood, energy, mental sharpness, and ability to handle stress. And over the long-term, chronic sleep loss can wreak havoc on your mental and physical health.
Sleep isn’t merely a time when your body shuts off. While you rest, your brain stays busy, overseeing biological maintenance that keeps your body running in top condition, preparing you for the day ahead. Without enough hours of restorative sleep, you won’t be able to work, learn, create, and communicate at a level even close to your true potential. Regularly skimp on “service” and you’re headed for a major mental and physical breakdown.
Scientific research makes clear that sleep is essential at any age. Sleep powers the mind, restores the body, and fortifies virtually every system in the body. But how much sleep do we really need in order to get these benefits?
National Sleep Foundation guidelines advise that healthy adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. Babies, young children, and teens need even more sleep to enable their growth and development. People over 65 should also get 7 to 8 hours per night.
Knowing the general recommendations for how much sleep you need is a first step. Then It’s important to reflect on your individual needs based on factors like your activity level and overall health. And finally, of course, it’s necessary to apply healthy sleep tips so that you can actually get the full night’s sleep that’s recommended.
The amount of sleep you need depends on various factors — especially your age. While sleep needs vary significantly among individuals, consider these general guidelines for different age groups:
- Birth to 3 months: 14 to 17 hours
- 4 to 11 months: 12 to 16 hours
- 1 to 2 years: 11 to 14 hours
- 3 to 5 years: 10 to 13 hours
- 6 to 12 years: 9 to 12 hours
- 13 to 18 years: 8 to 10 hours
- 18 to 64 years: 7 to 9 hours
- 65 years and older: 7 to 8 hours
In addition to age, other factors can affect how many hours of sleep you need. For example:
- Sleep quality. If your sleep is frequently interrupted, you’re not getting quality sleep. The quality of your sleep is just as important as the quantity.
- Previous sleep deprivation. If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.
- Pregnancy. Changes in hormone levels and physical discomfort can result in poor sleep quality.
- Aging. Older adults need about the same amount of sleep as younger adults. As you get older, however, your sleeping patterns might change. Older adults tend to sleep more lightly, take longer to start sleeping and sleep for shorter time spans than do younger adults. Older adults also tend to wake up multiple times during the night.