How many hours of sleep do adults need each night?
October 12, 2022
Sleep is the universal battery charger every species on the planet needs, some more than others.
When it comes to humans, the average sleep time for babies, who often sleep more than half the day, far outnumbers that of teenagers, who seem to spend a lot of time avoiding sleep—at least during the night.
And how much sleep do adults need? With hectic lives centered on work and family responsibilities, sleep is one of those things adults can never get seem to get enough of. But how much sleep is enough sleep? Do you really need 8 hours of sleep each night? Let’s take a look.
Sleep is as essential to your well-being as food, water and air. But how do we know how much sleep we need? According to the National Sleep Foundation, the amount of sleep people need differs depending on factors such as age, activity level and overall health. If you live an active, on-the-go lifestyle, you will need enough sleep to sustain that.
It may also depend on your genetic makeup. Scientists have identified a gene that causes people to need less than 6 ½ hours of sleep to feel well rested on a regular basis. That’s below the basic recommendation for most adults.
Here is the amount of sleep needed by age ranging from infants to their grandparents, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
|Life stage||Age||Recommended sleep|
|Newborn||0-3 months||14-17 hours|
|Infant||4-11 months||12-15 hours|
|Toddler||1-2 years||11-14 hours|
|Preschool||3-5 years||10-13 hours|
|School age||6-13 years||9-11 hours|
|Teenager||14-17 years||8-10 hours|
|Young Adult||18-25 years||7-9 hours|
|Adult||26-64 years||7-9 hours|
|Older adult||65+ years||7-8 hours|
So, is the common recommendation of 8 hours of sleep per night really accurate? As we can see, the National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep for most adults 18-64. That syncs with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which advises adults to aim for 7 hours of sleep or more per night, although research shows more than a third of Americans fall short of that.
If you work out regularly along with a high-stress job or other responsibilities, your needs might be on the higher end. If not, you can likely get by with 7 hours, even less if you’re older. The perfect amount will be different for everyone, so you’ll have to do your own research to see what average sleep time works for you to function at your best.
Isn’t it weird how you can wake up after getting 10 hours of sleep still feeling groggy, tired and sleep-deprived? You’d think you’d wake up more alert, refreshed and ready to rule the world!
But if you find you are continually sleeping more than the recommended hours for your age group or you’re sleepy all day no matter how much sleep you get, you should consult a doctor. It may be a sign of one of a variety of medical conditions.
We’ve all pushed bedtime back a couple of hours even though we have a full schedule the next day. Maybe you had to binge-watch a new season of your favorite show, put in the extra hours to make a deadline, or tend to children who don’t always get their own recommended amount of sleep. Or maybe you just occasionally have trouble sleeping.
Whatever the reason, you wake up exhausted, dreaming of the nap you’ll have after work to catch up. But can you catch up on sleep? Does it matter when you sleep if the average sleep time over the course of a week falls within the recommendations? What’s the weekend for if not catching up on lost Z’s?
Well, we’re sorry to break it to you, but your body doesn’t keep track of the minutes and hours of sleep you skipped out on while you were scrolling your socials or proofing that project. On paper, the average sleep time of someone “catching up” on the weekends may fall within the norms over time, but research shows that people who do that still experience the negative effects of sleep deprivation they endured earlier.
And sleep deprivation is no joke. When your body is deprived of getting the rest it so dearly needs, performing basic functions can become difficult.
When you are sleep-deprived, your risk for certain health conditions increases and your immune system can be compromised. You may be plagued by a muddled mind and be unable to think clearly because sleep is key for optimal brain function. And sleep deprivation can also affect your weight as it interferes with chemicals that control your appetite.
So, do you really need 8 hours of sleep? It depends on your lifestyle, but it’s certainly a good place to start. Take some time to focus on your sleep to determine what your body needs. If you occasionally have trouble falling asleep, you can consider supplements that have ingredients to help you relax or that promote good sleep.
Once you nail down what works best for you, you’ll be waking up each morning ready to tackle whatever the day throws at you – with maybe just a little help from caffeine!
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