It’s a classic catch-22: Didn’t get to bed on time? Good luck tomorrow. Manage to sleep all afternoon? Good luck with the rest of your day. It seems like no matter what you do, you cannot seem to wake up feeling refreshed like those mattress commercials so often promise.
The ultimate question is: How much sleep do I need?
Not getting enough sleep to the point of causing sleep deprivation can you leave you feeling cranky, incoherent, and can ultimately lead to health issues because of an immune system essentially running on fumes.
On the flip side, getting too much sleep can lead to a myriad of problems including depression as well as higher risks of obesity and heart disease. This back and forth can inevitably lead to justified frustration. It’s at this point that question we all seem to ask comes back around: “How much sleep do I need?”
The answer to that question is, surprise surprise, not definite. However, thanks to a study by the National Sleep Foundation, we do have enough data to determine the recommended hours of sleep by your age group. An easy rule of thumb is to assume that the older you are, the less sleep you need. So, one way to look at it is, when asking "How much sleep do I need?", it really depends on how old you are!
For example, toddlers need on average of about 12.5 hours while an adult of 26 years only needs about 8. The study mentioned above provides us with hours per age group that range from “Acceptable”, to “Recommended”, to “Not Recommended”. For simplicity’s sake, we took the average number for each age group and compiled them into a how much sleep do I need chart.
A breakdown of the info is as follows: newborns (defined as 0-3 months of age) need around a whopping 15 hours, infants (defined as 4-11 months of age) need around 14 hours, toddlers (defined as 1-2 years of age) require around 12.5 hours, preschool aged children (defined as 3-5 years) require around 11 hours, children (defined as 6-13 years) require around 9.5 hours, teenagers (defined as 14-17 years) require around 9 hours, young adults (18-25 years) require around 8.5 hours, adults (26-64 years) require about 8 hours, and adults 65 years and up only need about 7. Again, all of these numbers are average. You can give or take a few hours to still stay within a healthy range.
The National Sleep Institute concludes their research by stating that although the question of “How Many Hours Of Sleep Do I Need?” can be answered in a general way, their recommendations do vary from person to person. If you are suffering from a sleep disorder that is causing sleep deprivation and you are “deviating far from the normal range”, you could be showing signs of other health issues. If you are habitually not sleeping, it might be time to see your doctor.
Ways to Improve Sleep
Having the right bedding to keep you comfortable at night may help with many of your sleep issues. If you are sleeping on the same old mattressthat you have had since you were 12 or your sheetswere from the bargain bin for $5, that may be causing you some issues. Having the right pillow, comforterand sleeping at the right temperature can do wonders!
One thing to note: For parents of newborns and infants, we have entire blog dedicated to our 10 Tips To Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep. That is a whole other ballgame.
Put simply, sleeping too little or too much can be detrimental to your health--both mental and physical. Aim for the hours we’ve defined today and you should be on your way to happier days!
How many hours do you sleep per night? What helps you sleep? Let us know in the comment section below.
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