Adequate sleep is important for the body and mind. It is also a vital indicator of a person’s overall health and wellbeing.
About a third of our lives is spent asleep, this is one reason why we need to ensure our sleep is satisfying, refreshing, and adequate.
One common question doctors get is this: “How much sleep do I need?”
Many people aren’t really sure how long to sleep, they just sleep for as long (or as short) as they possibly can.
In this article, we’ll be answering that question, explaining how much sleep each person needs based on how old the person is.
How Much Sleep I Need?
You’ve probably heard that the average adult needs about 8 hours of sleep. This figure may look like its too much but the truth is that the average adult actually needs between 7-9 hours of sleep every day. So, if you’re getting 8 hours of sleep, you’re within the correct range.
The National Sleep Foundation officially recommends the following:
- Newborns between the ages of 0-3 months need about 14-17 hours of sleep each day.
- 4-11-month-old infants need between 12-15 hours of sleep.
- Toddlers (1-2 years) require about 11-14 hours of sleep.
- Pre-schoolers aged between 3-5 years need at least 10-13 hours of sleep.
- Children of school age (6-13yrs) require 9-11 hours of sleep.
- Teenagers (14-17yrs) need as much as 8-10 hours of adequate sleep.
- Young adults between the ages of 18-25 need 7-9 hours of sleep.
- Adults (26-64yrs) require 7-9 hours.
- Older adults (65+) recommended sleep range is 7-8 hours.
The importance of this information is that with this range, you can determine if you’ve been sleep deprived or oversleeping for too long. People who get used to chronic sleep deprivation may not realize that other health issues they might have could be linked to the fact that they just aren’t sleeping enough.
Importance of Sleep
When talking about a healthy lifestyle, diet and exercise readily come to mind, but having enough sleep is also very important. A good night’s sleep helps you stay alert mentally, improves your memory, regulates your mood and also improves your physical health.
A lack of sleep has been linked to a lot of health issues like:
- Higher rates of diseases such as obesity, hypertension, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Increased rates of depression and anxiety.
- Poor mood regulation, reduced energy, and motivation
- Lack of focus, poor memory, and lower decision-making abilities
- Reduction in coordination and athletic performance
- Higher rates of accidents due to inadequate rest.
- Lower levels of self-control, irritability, and relationship problems
- Inability to manage and cope with stress. Small problems are usually blown out of proportion.
- Lowered levels of immunity.
- Decreased libido.
- Premature aging.
How Do I Know If I Am Not Getting Enough Sleep?
It is possible to be sleep-deprived and not even know, especially if you are so used to sleeping for less than eight hours.
It may seem normal for you to feel sleepy when in a boring lecture or meeting, but the truth is that you may be deprived of sleep.
The following signs are pointers that you need more sleep:
- You always need an alarm clock to wake up on time.
- You struggle to get out of bed in the morning.
- Even when the alarm goes off, you use the snooze button.
- You feel lazy and sluggish during the day.
- You always get sleepy in meetings or lectures.
- Feeling sleepy while driving
- You fall asleep very often while watching TV or relaxing in the evenings
- You depend on stimulants such as coffee or energy drinks to get you through the day.
To know if you are adequately meeting your sleep needs, you need to evaluate how you feel as the day goes by. If you are full of energy and alert all through, this means you are getting all the sleep you need.
How Do I Get The Sleep I Need?
To get an adequate amount of sleep based on your age, here are some tips to follow.
- Your sleep deprivation may be a result of a sleep disorder. Seek medical attention so that it can be attended to immediately.
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule by trying to sleep and wake up at the same time every day including weekends.
- Exercise regularly for at least 30 mins but try not to do it close to bedtime.
- Avoid taking caffeine, alcohol or sugary foods excessively as they can all disrupt your sleep pattern. Also, avoid eating heavy meals or drinking plenty of fluids close to bedtime.
- Stress management is also important, learn how to handle stress from work, family or school better so that it doesn’t keep you up at night.
- Improve your sleep environment by making it quiet and conducive. You can get a comfortable bed and pillows too.
- Avoid office work, screens and any stressful conversation that may prevent you from having a good night’s sleep when it’s close to bedtime.
- Take a warm bath or practice any other relaxation technique that can help in calming your mind.
- Stop worrying and let tomorrow take care of itself.