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How Much Sleep Do I Need? Sleep Requirements by Age

While there is a ballpark estimate of how much sleep people need at any given age, everybody is different. So, let’s talk about it.
Author avatar: Andrew Jolie Andrew Jolie March 18, 2024 6 min read

You can already imagine that getting enough sleep is crucial for maintaining good health, but how much sleep do we really need? Obviously, that depends on your age and what you, as an individual, need. You may have an amazing hormone not many people have that allows you to get by with 4-5 hours of sleep. But for most people, a certain amount of sleep is needed to be coherent, productive, healthy and happy.

How Much Sleep Do I Need?

Determining the right amount of sleep you need isn't a one-size-fits-all answer. Many factors influence it.

  • Age is one of the primary factors, as infants require a lot more sleep than adults, while older adults might need slightly less than younger adults.
  • Lifestyle also plays a crucial role in determining how much sleep you need. People with physically or mentally demanding jobs might need more rest to recover, whereas those with more sedentary lifestyles could require less. Just like athletes or people who engage in regular intense physical activity might need more sleep to repair their muscles and tissues.
  • Health is another critical factor. People battling illnesses or health conditions, like chronic pain or mental health disorders, may require more sleep. Also, when you’re sick, your body often requires additional sleep to fight off infection and aid recovery.

Generally, sleep experts recommend that most adults aim for about 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best. This range is considered optimal for maintaining overall health, supporting cognitive functions, and managing emotional well-being. But, the "perfect" amount of sleep can vary for everybody. Some might feel refreshed and fully operational with just 7 hours, while others might need a full 9 hours to perform well.

It's important to listen to your body and pay attention to how you feel during the day. Feeling alert and energetic throughout the day is a good sign that you're getting the right amount of sleep. If you're experiencing fatigue, irritability, or a decline in productivity, it might be a sign to adjust your sleep schedule.

Understanding your own body's needs and adjusting your sleep habits accordingly can significantly impact your health and quality of life. Experimenting with different amounts of sleep and assessing how you feel can help you find your ideal sleep duration, ensuring you wake up refreshed and ready for the day ahead.

Sleep Requirements by Age

As previously mentioned, the need for sleep changes as we age. Let’s break it down by the recommended sleep by age group:

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How Do You Know If You Are Not Getting Enough Sleep?

Lack of enough sleep can lead to various health issues, including weakened immunity, weight gain, and increased risk of chronic diseases. We underestimate what the lack of sleep can do to our bodies. Signs that you might not be getting enough sleep include:

  • Difficulty concentrating and memory lapses
  • Mood changes and irritability
  • Decreased performance and alertness
  • Increased accidents or errors
  • Ongoing tiredness or fatigue

What Should I Do If I Can’t Sleep?

Establishing a calming bedtime routine can be highly beneficial if you can’t sleep. A consistent routine before bed can signal to your body that it's time to wind down. This might include activities such as reading, taking a warm bath, or practicing relaxation exercises like deep breathing or meditation.

Creating a sleep environment that fosters comfort and relaxation is also crucial. Make sure your bedroom is cool, quiet, and dark. Get yourself a comfortable mattress and pillows that support a good sleeping posture. Blackout curtains and soundproofing can further improve your sleep environment.

Avoiding caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime is important as they can disrupt your sleep. Also, try to limit heavy meals and alcohol in the evening, as these can lead to discomfort and indigestion that might interrupt sleep.

Minimizing the use of your smartphone, iPad, TV or laptop in the bedroom is another effective strategy. The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep. Consider setting a digital curfew an hour before bedtime, or use devices with night settings that minimize blue light exposure.

Using a sleep mask or a smart sleep mask, like the one from Bía can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep more soundly.

The Bía Smart Sleep Mask stands as a pioneering solution in sleep technology, integrating advanced features that enhance sleep quality. This mask employs neurofeedback and neural sounds to interact directly with brain activity, promoting optimal sleep patterns.

Unique to Bía, the mask uses foam-conduction audio to generate vibrations that calm the vagus nerve and are perceived as sound, allowing the speakers to be positioned at the front for enhanced comfort—ideal for side sleepers and those who prefer to use earplugs. It includes 100% blackout capabilities to encourage melatonin production and a sunrise alarm that mimics natural waking light, providing a gentle start to the day.

Equipped with a full suite of sensors, including temperature and light sensors, an accelerometer, and Bluetooth connectivity, Bía’s Smart Sleep Mask offers a comprehensive approach to sleep improvement, from easing you into sleep to waking you up naturally.

Remember, if sleep difficulties persist, consulting with a healthcare provider to explore potential underlying causes and discuss more specific treatments may be beneficial.

FAQs About Sleep Requirements

How many hours of sleep is healthy?

For a healthy adult, the recommended range is 7-9 hours of sleep per night. However, your needs may vary depending on various factors including age, lifestyle, and overall health. Some people may function well on 7 hours, while others might need a full 9 hours to perform optimally. For instance, individuals engaged in high mental or physical activity during the day might need more sleep to recover adequately.

What is the ideal amount of sleep?

The ideal amount of sleep is the duration that allows an individual to wake up feeling refreshed and stay alert and productive throughout the day. While 7-9 hours of sleep is typically adequate for most adults, personal health and daily demands can adjust this range. It's important to assess how you feel during the day: if you're drowsy or fatigued, it may be a sign to increase your sleep time.

How little sleep is too little?

Regularly sleeping less than 6 hours per night can be detrimental for most adults, leading to impaired cognitive function and decreased physical health. Chronic sleep deprivation can increase the risk of serious health issues such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even early mortality. Insufficient sleep can also affect mood, motivation, and overall quality of life. It's crucial to address any ongoing sleep deficiencies to maintain health and functionality.

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