How Much Sleep Do We Need?

Not getting enough sleep has huge effects on our health. From foggy thinking, to heart problems, to weight gain - and not to mention the cranky moods - there’s a number of reasons we need to make sure we’re getting enough hours of rest each night. But just how many hours is the magic number?

If you’re after a very scientific, serious answer, the National Sleep Foundation has provided us with an answer. A panel of scientists who reviewed more than 300 sleep-duration studies came up with new guidelines, including one for people age 65-plus.

Here’s the official break down:

  • Newborns (0 to 3 months): 14 to 17 hours (previously 12 to 18)

  • Infants (4 to 11 months): 12 to 15 hours (previously 14 to 15)

  • Toddlers (1 to 2 years): 11 to 14 hours (previously 12 to 14)

  • Preschoolers (3 to 5 years): 10 to 13 hours (previously 11 to 13)

  • School-age children (6 to 13 years): 9 to 11 hours (previously 10 to 11)

  • Teenagers (14 to 17 years): 8 to 10 hours (previously 8.5 to 9.5)

  • Younger adults (18 to 25 years): 7 to 9 hours (new age category)

  • Adults (26 to 64 years): 7 to 9 hours (no change)

  • Older adults (65+ years): 7 to 8 hours (new age category)

However, there are a number of other factors you should consider. For example - everybody has a slightly different innate need for sleep. Some bodies just require more rest than others! On top of that, factors how much and how often you exercise, whether your body is fighting illness or dealing with a chronic problem, whether or not you’re pregnant, and more all work to determine how much sleep you need.

Even with all of this going on, though - it’s possible to figure out how much sleep you need to feel rested and rejuvenated! Here’s a process you could try:

  1. Start where you are. Determine how much sleep you’re getting every night.
  2. Go to sleep 15 minutes earlier every 2-3 nights, until you’re getting at least 7 hours of sleep every, single night.
  3. When you hit 7 hours, see how you feel. If you’re tired during the day or you’re not ready to wake up when your alarm goes off, move your bedtime back 15 more minutes.
  4. Continue this process until you are getting enough sleep every night. You’ll probably end up somewhere between 7 and 9 hours, but listen to your body and follow its needs.

If you're getting enough sleep but having trouble with feeling well rested the next day, try checking out our blog for 8 Natural Ways To Get A Better Night's Sleep.