So, how many hours of sleep should you be getting per night? You might be asking yourself, ‘How much sleep do I need?’ This is an essential question that many people seem to struggle with. The answer, for most adults, is somewhere between six and eight hours a night, but it is variable.
Everyone knows somebody who gets five hours of sleep per night and seems perfectly fine; however, most adults are going to need somewhere between six and eight hours to be functional. If you feel that you’re sleep-deprived and tired, and you’re not functioning well, it is important to look at how well you’re sleeping.
When we’re trying to get more out of life, sleep is usually the first thing that gets cut out to make room in our schedules. Ironically, it can be hard to realize that by cutting back on sleep, we are decreasing creativity, concentration, patience, communication skills, and a lot of other things that make us productive. You should be focusing on how to fix your sleeping schedule and learn how many hours of sleep do you need to get a good night’s rest.
Recommended Hours of Sleep
Less sleep results in a less active brain and less healthy body. Pretty much whatever you’re doing, you’re going to end up doing it worse if you’re sleep-deprived. Of course, there are some cases where you have no choice but to stay up late or wake up early, but at any given stage in our lives, there’s an amount of sleep we should be getting every night.
Another critical thing to note is that you can’t recover a sleep debt. This means you can’t merely ‘catch up’ on sleep by sleeping for 12 hours on a Saturday after three nights of sleeping poorly. This is something to keep in mind when planning your (and your kids’) sleep schedule for the week.
Newborns (0-3 months)
Bringing the newborn home from the hospital is an exciting time, and we understand that you want to spend as much time as possible cuddling and hanging out with them.
That said, you need to make sure your child is getting the amount of sleep they need at this critical period for their development and growth. A baby’s well-being is at the top of any new parent’s mind, but there are many people out there who don’t know how much sleep a newborn really needs.
According to experts, newborns should only be awake during feeding times and should sleep between 14 and 17 hours each day.
Infants (4-11 months)
At this period in their life, babies typically sleep anywhere between 12 and 15 hours each day. Most of that time is taken by their long night-time sleep, which should comprise about 9 – 11 hours, while their daily naps contribute to another three to four. It still might be hard for your little one to adjust to the relatively new environment that is the world.
Many infants may appreciate sleep aids that remind them of the womb, so things like white noise or a cozy bassinet may be an excellent way to get your baby to sleep for longer.
Toddlers (1-2 years)
When your child turns one, they aren’t going to experience a considerable change in the amount of time they sleep. Most toddlers sleep about 11 – 14 hours each day, including nights and naps. A two-year-old is expected to nap about 2 hours per day while the rest of their sleep should be done during the night.
The number and duration of naps is going to decrease as they get older, so you can expect to have more time with them during the day. It’s important to remember to keep the naps as far as possible from their usual bedtime so that you wouldn’t mess with their regular sleep schedule.
Preschoolers should go to bed somewhere between 7 and 9 p.m. and wake up anywhere between 6 and 8 a.m. This is the ideal situation, however, and if you’re not getting these exact numbers, you shouldn’t fret too hard.
That said, you should try and get as close to this schedule as possible. At the age of three, many kids are still taking naps during the day, while at the age of five, most aren’t. For those kids who are still napping, the naps will continue to get progressively shorter.
School-age children (6-13)
Recommendations from the National Sleep Foundation state that school-age kids should get between 9 and 11 hours of sleep. However, due to new obligations, they are faced within this period of their life, most kids don’t get the recommended amount of Z’s. Some kids develop new sleep-related issues, such as nighttime fears, fear of the dark, and separation anxiety.
School-age kids have wild imaginations, so nightmares become more common as well. On the flip side, the brain of a child this age starts to incorporate more REM stages in their sleep, so shorter sleep time is still able to get them the therapeutic properties they need. This is especially true if they’ve got a proper mattress for kids.
Even though the recommended amount of sleep for teenagers is 8 to 10 hours, most of them fall short of reaching these numbers. According to experts, only about 30% of teenagers get as much sleep as they should, which is a bit depressing because this period is hugely important for a child’s development.
There are many demands put upon kids at this stage of their lives, such as homework and after school activities, which can keep them up for longer. There are also increasing social obligations and worries related to friendships and romance.
Younger adults (18-25)
This is where we start to get into some conflicting theories and speculation. The consensus is that the older we get, the less sleep we need, but this is not necessarily true. According to some experts, young adults sometimes need as much or more sleep than teenagers or even school-aged children.
The problem, however, is that most young adults are unable to reach these amounts of sleep regularly. Whether it’s due to college, work, or other obligations, younger adults tend to have a difficult time getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
In this category, we run into the same problem as in the previous one, with people not being able to get the amount of sleep that they need regularly. Most adults spend their workdays severely sleep-deprived due to obligations related to work and family and try to catch up on the weekends by sleeping in when possible.
As we mentioned earlier, this is not a solution, as according to experts, recovering sleep debt is not possible. This is why we all need to do what we can to improve our sleep schedules, learn how to how to fall asleep fast and minimize the factors that influence our sleep.
Older adults (65+)
One of the myths that we often see out there is that older adults need less sleep than middle-aged or young adults. The truth is that older adults need just as much rest in their 70s as they did when they were in their 40s. The problem is that older adults often can’t generate the sleep that they need.
We’ve all heard that many older people are only able to sleep up to 5 or 6 hours per night, but that doesn’t mean that we should accept this situation. If you’re an older adult, you should do everything you can to improve your sleep hygiene and get at least 7 hours of sleep per night.
Signs That You’re Not Getting Enough Sleep
If you ever wondered why you yawn on a regular basis, lack of sleep might be the answer. In the fast-paced world of today, getting good sleep has become somewhat of a luxury. It has dropped on our list of priorities behind work, social time, chores, and entertainment. Functioning on an inadequate amount of sleep has even become something to be worn as a badge of honor.
We brag to our friends about how little sleep we got last night like it’s something to be proud of. However, rest is a vital part of life as important to your physical and mental health as food and water, and it should become everyone’s top priority.
One of the significant problems with the lack of sleep is that most people don’t even realize that they are sleep deprived. Studies have shown that people who regularly don’t get enough sleep, start to feel like they have adapted and gotten used to this new sleep pattern.
However, if you were to test them on mental clarity and alertness, you’d quickly see that they were functioning on a subpar level. Stimulants like caffeine also aren’t enough to override your body’s profound need for sleep.
Sleep plays a vital role in learning and thinking in general. Sleep deprivation hurts these cognitive processes in a variety of ways. It impairs reasoning, problem-solving, concentration, alertness, and attention. During the night, your brain is busy processing information from the day and forming memories. To put it simply, without adequate sleep, your mind has a hard time absorbing and recalling new information.
How to Get the Sleep that You Need?
Probably the most important thing about sleep is maintaining a proper routine or something that we call ‘sleep hygiene.’ Keeping the best possible sleep hygiene includes trying to avoid situations that could disrupt your sleep cycle.
Stimulants like caffeine should be avoided at least a few hours before going to bed. You should also try to avoid eating late at night, because that can lead to heartburn, preventing you from falling asleep and even waking you up.
There’s a common misconception that alcohol can help you sleep, so many people like to ‘wind down’ with a glass or two in the evening, but alcohol actually has the opposite effect, severely affecting the quality of your sleep.
Therefore, trying to maintain healthy sleep-related habits is critical. Anytime you start altering your habits, you will change your sleep cycle, and that means you’re not likely to feel well-rested the next day. Having a high-quality mattress is also essential for a better sleep.
Sleep is critical for our physical and mental well-being. Not getting enough for an extended period can cause all kinds of issues, ranging from poor focus and chronic fatigue to more severe psychological and physical disorders and problems. Depression and lack of motivation are closely linked to sleep deprivation as well.
When we get a good night’s sleep, we allow our brains and bodies to freshen up and regenerate for the day ahead. This process of restoration is what lets you recover and recuperate from the stress of everyday life and any activities you may take part in during the day.
No matter how old you are, it’s vital to get enough sleep, so make sure to go to leave all distractions aside in the evening and go to bed on time. Your body and mind will thank you the next day.