How much sleep do we REALLY need?

sleep-by-age

Sleep is essential for a healthy, happy life, if you’re not getting enough sleep, you’ll suffer for it. Did you know that overall, we spend about a third of our lives asleep? That means, if you live until 75 years of age, you’ll spend a whopping 25 years asleep throughout your life. Or at least, we should spend a third of our time asleep - when it comes to getting the right amount of sleep, a lot of us struggle.

While we know how important it is to get a good night’s sleep, far too many of us don’t get as much sleep as we should. Studies have shown that when it comes to how much sleep we should be getting, most of the population believe that eight hours is a universal number. However, that’s not actually, the case. How much sleep we need depends on our age, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all amount of sleep. Each age range needs a different amount of sleep to be able to function properly on a daily basis. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, it really can take it’s toll on you.

Here’s a useful guide to how much sleep each age group needs and how to achieve a good night’s sleep. Remember, when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, it’s not just a case of quantity but also quality of sleep.

Newborns

Out of every age range, newborns need the most sleep. Being a baby might not look like hard work, but you would be surprised at just how tiring it can be. It’s recommended that newborn babies, aged 0-3 months should be getting a minimum of between 14 and 17 hours of sleep a day. The maximum they should be getting is 19 hours a day.

Infant

Growing is hard work; that’s why infants aged 4-11 months need at least 12 to 15 hours of sleep a day. Some infants, however, require around 10 to 18 hours a day. To help them get a good night’s sleep, investing in a comfy, cozy cot bed is a must.

Toddler

Toddlers aged 1-2 years need a minimum of 11-14 hours of sleep a day and a maximum of 16 hours a day. Learning to walk and talk is hard work, so it’s no wonder little ones need so much sleep. The reason that a lot of toddlers don’t sleep through the night is because of things like light streaming in through their window wakes them up. To help them get a good night’s sleep, invest in a blackout blind.

Preschooler

Once children start preschool, aged 3-5 years old, they need less sleep. It’s recommended that kids of preschool age get no less than 10-13 hours of sleep, and no more than 14 hours. Obviously, each child is different, so this may differ slightly from child to child.

School child

Kids between the ages of 6-13 should be getting between 9-11 hours of sleep at a low and 12 hours at a high. How much sleep each child needs will again depend on them and their daily activities - the busier they are, the more tired they’ll be. A good bedtime for kids this age is between 7 and 8 pm.

Teenager

It’s recommended that teenagers aged 14-17 should be getting a minimum of 8-10 hours of sleep each night. At a maximum, they should be getting no more than 11 hours of sleep a night. Teens are renowned for sleeping in all day, catching up on sleep. However, this can actually make them more tired. So it’s important that they stick to the recommended daily amount of sleep for their age.

Young adult

Young adults aged between 18-25 years old need on average 7-9 hours of sleep. However, some young adults need 6-11 hours of sleep instead. The most important thing young adults can do to ensure they get a good night’s sleep steer clear of electronic devices before bed. Smartphones and computers can make drifting off a lot more difficult and can lead to insomnia. Sadly, screen time and bedtime just don’t mix.

Adult

According to research, adults aged between 26 and 64 years old should be getting on average 7-9 hours of sleep. Some adults, however, need 6-10 hours of sleep a day. To make it easier to drift off into a deep sleep, stretch and practice yoga before bed. Meditational activities like this help to soothe and calm your mind, relieving you of the day’s stresses.

Older Adult

Last but not least, older adults aged 65 years and over should be getting between 7-8 hours of sleep on average. However, some older adults do better at day-to-day tasks when getting an average of 5-9 hours of sleep a night. To help you drift off, a lavender bubble bath and a cup of warm milk are all you need. How much sleep we need differs as we age and it’s important to realize this.