In today’s hyper-connected world, sleep can easily devolve into an afterthought. Especially for folks with busy schedules, getting adequate sleep may feel like a challenge.
Sleep–but more importantly, getting enough sleep–is essential for a healthy life and functioning to the best of your ability. So, how much sleep do you need? In this article, we’ll cover the recommended amount according to your age, how the American Academy of Sleep Medicine established these guidelines and the effects of not getting enough shut-eye.
12-16 hours (including naps)
11-14 hours (including naps)
10-13 hours (including naps)
7 or more hours
The guidelines above are from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The information presented may vary according to your personal health circumstances.
To achieve their recommendations for children, the AASM created a 13-person panel that reviewed 864 science-based articles to form their consensus, revealing that kids need more sleep than adults. This fact is essential for parents, who can help make sure these guidelines are followed.
Learn More: How Much Sleep Do Kids Need
The experts’ votes reflect how different amounts of sleep affect cognitive, physical, emotional, and overall health. Thus, these guidelines should promote optimal health across all four categories.
To little sleep means you’re more susceptible to becoming sick and could delay the healing process.
When you sleep, your body produces proteins, antibodies, and cells that aid immune system responses. However, sleep deprivation can decrease the production of these protective elements.
Research shows that people who don’t rest enough experience an increase in negative moods, including anger, irritability, sadness, and frustration.
Furthermore, sleep deprivation can raise your risk of developing mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. Mood disorders and sleeplessness are often connected since one can directly affect the other.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one way the body responds to a lack of rest is by generating microsleeps. These involuntary sleep episodes usually occur for a few seconds. So while you appear to be awake with your eyes open, your brain won’t process information.
Most folks who experience microsleeps cannot control them and aren’t aware they’re happening.
Too little sleep could cost you your job because sleep deprivation can impair workplace performance and productivity. Insufficient slumber can hinder your ability to focus, process information, and engage in crucial decision-making skills that many workers need to succeed.
Find Out More: 8 Most Sleep-Deprived Professions
 Shalini Paruthi MD, Lee J. Brooks MD, Carolyn D'Ambrosio MD, Wendy A. Hall PhD RN, Suresh Kotagal MD, Robin M. Lloyd MD, Beth A. Malow MD MS, et al., “Recommended Amount of Sleep for Pediatric Populations: A Consensus Statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine”, Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 2016.
 Nathaniel F. Watson MD MSc, M. Safwan Badr MD, Gregory Belenky MD, Donald L. Bliwise PhD, Orfeu M. Buxton PhD, Daniel. Buysse MD, David F. Dinges PhD, “Recommended Amount of Sleep for a Healthy Adult: A Joint Consensus Statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society.”, American Academy of Sleep Medicine
 Eric J. Olsen M.D., “Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?”, Mayo Clinic, November 28, 2018.
 “Mood and Sleep”, Better Health Channel
 “NIOSH Training for Nurses on Shift Work and Long Work Hours”, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, March 31, 2020.
 “The Toll of Insufficient Sleep on Workers”, Harvard Medical School