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More of us are becoming aware of the need for good quality sleep with each study confirming linking sleep and good health. Sufficient, good quality sleep is associated with better mental and physical health, reduced risk of obesity and other chronic conditions, and improved cognitive function and productivity. How many hours of sleep should you get each night?
Given this, getting adequate sleep should be a major priority for individuals as well as our societies and economies. How much you need can vary from individual to individual, so the question is, how much sleep is enough for the average person? The answer can vary depending on your age and other considerations.
Factors like age, health, physical exertion, and mental activity can impact how much you need. For the average adult, around seven to nine hours of sleep each night is recommended.
Those aged over 64 might be best getting around seven to eight hours, while other adults (ages 18 to 64) could aim for seven to nine. Pregnant women tend to need more sleep, as do children.
Babies may need around 16 hours of sleep — and up to 20 — over the course of a day, while toddlers may require around 11 to 14 hours. School-aged kids could do best on nine to 12 hours of sleep. For teenagers, the recommended number of hours is eight to 10 hours of sleep.
Although this adds up to around one-third of your life spent sleeping and may seem like a lot, it’s for good reason: your mind and body are busy restoring themselves to keep you productive, energetic, and healthy.
If you’re sleeping deeply, your mind and body will cycle between five different stages, including rapid eye movement, moderate sleep, deep sleep, and dreaming throughout the night. According to bedding expert Jonathan Prichard, the average adult gets around one to two hours of deep sleep for every eight hours of nighttime sleep.
Note these are general guidelines and you might need more or less. For example, some adults do well on as little as six hours each night while others need 10 hours. It’s important to check in with how you are feeling during the day.
If you’re feeling sleepy or drowsy during the day, you might need to dedicate more of your nighttime hours to sleeping. Forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, and mood changes can also be signs you need more sleep. Also, if you’ve been sleep deprived over a number of days, you might need to repay the sleep debt you’ve accumulated with a few extra hours for the next week.
If you have trouble maintaining a good sleep routine, look into sleep hygiene and relaxation techniques before bed. You could also consider other things like exploring massage therapy, meditating — or, other things like trying deep breathing practices to relax deeply and de-stress before bedtime.
These strategies could help you avoid tossing and turning all night and the frustration of failing to get enough deep sleep even though you’re spending enough time in bed. If you’re still not achieving high-quality sleep, see a healthcare professional about possible causes like sleep disorders or sleep apnea.
For the average adult, anywhere from seven to nine hours each night might be a healthful amount of sleep, but the amount of sleep you need can vary significantly from individual to individual.
Your age is also an important factor, with seniors requiring slightly less sleep and children more sleep. Paying attention to how much sleep you’re getting could be just as important as eating well and staying physically active.
Over the long term, getting enough deep sleep can improve everything from your mood to metabolism — which will help you to lose weight and be more productive at work. So how many hours of sleep should you be getting each night?