How Much Sleep Do You Need?
Optimum amount of sleep
If you had the choice between getting by and having everything you need, you’d go for the second option, wouldn’t you? You can do a much better job when you’ve got all the tools for the job.
Sleeping is no different. You might be able to function on 6 hours of sleep per night, but to function well is a different story.
So, just how much sleep do you need?
Everyone is different. Adults require 7 to 9 hours, but the younger you are, the more of those Z’s your body will demand:
Children need more sleep than adults
If you’ve just become a parent, first of all: congratulations; and secondly, your child will need anything between 14 and 17 hours per day. This decreases slightly when they hit 4 months old, at which point they’ll start to need around 12 to 15 hours, so you still won’t have many opportunities to take photos of them with their eyes open.
Once they hit that magical first year, they’ll need a little less at 11 to 14 hours per day up until they’re 3 years old. Then it’s a question of 10 to 13 hours a day through until they reach 6, when the need for sleep diminishes by a couple of hours, stretching from 9 to 11 hours up until they turn 14.
Teenagers and young adults
By the time your kids have become teenagers, you’ll be seeing more of them because they have a lot less need for sleep than when they were children. From 14 years old onwards, 8 to 10 hours will do the job until they become young adults at 18.
This is where it gets interesting as we transition from teenage years into adulthood, the stages of sleep change. We start to experience less stage 3 sleep, a deep, slow-wave phase of sleep, and more stage 2 sleep takes its place. This second stage of sleep is slightly lighter but still restorative.
In terms of sleep requirements, young adults are a new category. They’re classed as being from 18 to 25 years old and will need 7 to 9 hours.
Adults, What is the optimum amount of sleep?
To fire on all cylinders in your adult years, you should get between 7 and 9 hours per night. In terms of this, there’s no real confusion. You can soldier on through the rest of your adult years up until your 65 and perform to your best. At that point, you can cut back an hour: you only need 7 to 8 hours.
Are you getting enough sleep?
How do you know if you’re getting enough sleep? Watch out for the simple signs below:
- Hitting the snooze button on your alarm clock and, generally, finding it out hard to get out of bed.
- Sleeping in meetings, warm rooms or lectures.
- Taking naps to get through the day.
- Feeling drowsy after large meals.
- Sleeping in front of the TV.
- Lying in at weekends.
Are you in good health?
If you’re not getting enough sleep, there are several things you can do:
- Observe a regular schedule by going to bed and getting up at the same time each day.
- Create a comfortable sleeping environment ― dark, calm and cool ― to make it easier to sleep.
- Cut down on caffeine and sugary foods, which can disrupt your sleep.
- Engage in a relaxing routine before bedtime.
You may not realise that if we take care of ourselves as we get older, we can also get the sleep our body demands but doesn’t necessarily get. This is why it’s important to make exercise part of your lifestyle, too.
Sleep medicine specialists have commented on sleep mirroring health. If they track how people are sleeping over time, they tend to find the results mirror their overall health.
Note that if you’re physically active or decide to get more active, you’ll need to sleep more. The body must recover from your exertions, so consider sleeping a little longer than necessary.
Never underestimate the importance of your bedding
Don’t forget about your actual bedding as well. If you look forward to sleeping away from home, consider changing your mattress so that you can look forward to a better night’s sleep. If there are any lumps or dips in the mattress, you can feel the springs, or you can feel the movement of your partner when you sleep, it’s time to buy a new mattress.
The measures discussed above will help, but they shouldn’t be a substitute for comfortable bedding. In the interest of your health and your general wellbeing, you should make the purchase and give yourself a better chance of giving each day everything you’ve got.