The results are in and on average you told us you sleep 6 to 8 hours a night. So how does that stack up to expert recommendations? And what does this mean for your overall health?
Sleep is known as the third pillar of health and is integral to maintaining a state of holistic wellbeing. We spend up to one-third of our lives sleeping, and the overall state of our “sleep health” remains a priority throughout our lifespan and changes at different stages of our life.
So, how much sleep do I actually need?
This all depends on what stage of life you are in. Our needs change as we grow and in turn, so does the amount of sleep we need.
Here is a summary of the latest sleep recommendations across your lifespan. The advice in the table below is purely to be used as a guide, however if you find yourself sleeping considerably more, or considerably less this could be due to underlying health issues.
You can make a good guess if a person is sleeping enough at night by observing how they act and function during the day! Those lacking in sleep are often irritable, unmotivated or left feeling sluggish. It’s also important we don’t oversleep as oversleeping comes with it’s own complications. Here’s our guide to the amount of sleep you need at each stage of life:
Newborns (0-3 months ): 14-17 hours each day (previously it was 12-18)
Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours (previously it was 14-15)
Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours (previously it was 12-14)
Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours (previously it was 11-13)
School age children (6-13): 9-11 hours (previously it was 10-11)
Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours (previously it was 8.5-9.5)
Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours (new age category)
Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours.
Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours (new age category).
You can help achieve these sleep ranges by maintaining good sleep hygiene. These habits include setting and sticking to a regular bedtime and avoiding caffeine, sugar and electronic devices before sleep.
Other lifestyle adjustments that may help improve your sleep include:
- Exercise every day, but not close to bedtime and try not to overheat yourself – your body needs time to wind down.
- Try not to engage in mentally stimulating activities close to bedtime. Use the last hour or so before sleep to relax your mind.
- Avoid afternoon naps.
- Try a warm, milky drink, since milk contains a sleep-enhancing amino acid.
- Take a warm bath.
- Turn your alarm clock to the wall. Watching the minutes tick by is a sure way to keep yourself awake.
- If you can’t fall asleep within a reasonable amount of time, get out of bed and do something else for half an hour or so, such as reading a book.