How Much Sleep Do We Really Need? Recommended Sleep Times for Every Age

Everyone will experience at least one sleep-related problem during their lifetime. Those who are not sure how much sleep they need can now rely on a new set of recommendations.

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF), has published a new report on this recently. They completed this report together with a panel of experts. For most age groups, appropriate sleep ranges are now wider. Two new age groups have been added: 18-25 and 65 and older. Let’s go over each category and try to expand on these findings.

Before we start, you should note that people’s needs vary – depending on age, health and lifestyle. The quality of their bed plays an important role too. Thus, it’s not only important to fall within a certain guideline for your age group. You also have to consider other factors that play a role in the quality and quantity of the sleep you are getting.

Recommended for you: Use our Sleep Calculator to find out exactly when your should go to bed.
AGERECOMMENDEDAPPROPRIATENOT RECOMMENDED
NEWBORNS (0-3 MONTHS)14-17h11-13h, 18-19h<11h, >19h
INFANTS (4-11 MONTHS)12-15h10-11h , 16-18h<10h, >18h
TODDLERS (1-2 YEARS)11-14h9-10h , 15-116h<9h, >16h
PRESCHOOLERS (3-5 YEARS)10-13h8-9h, 14h<8h, >14h
SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN (6-13 YEARS)9-11h7-8h, 12h<7h, >12h
TEENAGERS (14-17 YEARS)8-10h7h, 11h<7h, >11h
YOUNGER ADULTS (18-25 YEARS)7-9h6h, 10-11h<6h, >11h
ADULTS (26-64 YEARS)7-8h5-9h<5h, >9h

Newborns (0-3 months)

  • Recommended: 14-17h
  • Appropriate: 11-13h, 18-19h
  • Not recommended: less than 11h, more than 19h

Newborns in their first few months of life can sleep at any time of the day. Their cycles of sleep have a lot to do with the feeding, changing, and nurturing. Newborn babies tend to rest from 11 up to 19 hours a day with an uneven schedule. They can be awake for up to three hours at a time, while their sleep can last from five minutes to a couple of hours.

Infants (4-11 months)

  • Recommended : 12-15h
  • Appropriate: 10-11h , 16-18h
  • Not recommended: less than 10h, more than 18h

When they reach six months of age, most infants will no longer need feeding during the night. Moreover, up to 80 percent of them won’t wake up until morning by the time they reach nine months. Babies between 4 and 11 months usually rest for about 12 hours during the night. They usually have a couple of 30-minute naps during the day.

Toddlers (1-2 years)

  • Recommended: 11-14h
  • Appropriate: 9-10h , 15-116h
  • Not recommended: less than 9h, more than 16h

Toddlers need less time to rest, so their range is between 11 and 14 hours per day. By the time, they’re 18 months old, the number of naps will decrease to maybe once a day for up to three hours. One thing to note is that naps should not be too close to their usual bedtime so that it’s not delayed.

Preschoolers (3-5 years)

  • Recommended: 10-13h
  • Appropriate: 8-9h, 14h
  • Not recommended: less than 8h, more than 14h

Children who are from three years up to five years of age need 10 to 13 hours of rest every night. What’s more, most of them stop napping when they reach the age of five. During this period, children also tend to have nightmares or experience sleepwalking. These can sometimes cut their sleep short because they struggle to fall asleep afterwards.

School-age children (6-13 years)

  • Recommended: 9-11h
  • Appropriate: 7-8h, 12h
  • Not recommended: less than 7h, more than 12h

On average, 6 to 13-year-old kids need 9-11 hours of rest. They also have to spend more and more time on schoolwork and other activities as they age. Furthermore, children in this group devote more time to cellphones, computers, the internet or watching TV. This can lead to a disrupted sleep schedule.

Teenagers (14-17 years)

  • Recommended: 8-10h
  • Appropriate: 7 or 11h
  • Not recommended: less than 7h, more than 11h

Teens most often need 8 to 10 hours of rest, but their sleeping patterns shift, so they go to bed and wake up later. It is natural for high school kids to stay up as late as until 11 pm. That’s why sleep patterns for teenagers can fluctuate during the week. But it’s also because of schoolwork and social activities.

growing older

Younger Adults (18-25 years)

  • Recommended: 7-9h
  • Appropriate: 6 or 10-11h
  • Not recommended: less than 6h, more than 11h

Young adults have the most trouble getting the suggested 7-9 hours of rest. It is especially the case with college students. This is the time when people have the most irregular sleeping patterns. Some pull all-nighters because of exams and then get up early to take them. Then there’s socialisation and staying out ’till late. It’s always best to reduce caffeine and alcohol intake while sticking to a healthy diet. Regular exercise will help maintain a good sleeping schedule.

Adults (26-64 years)

Ageing in a healthy way is usually associated with a reduced need for sleep. The official recommendation for people older than 65 is 7-8 hours of rest per night. But it might be as little as 5 or as much as 9 hours. Since sleep is a restorative process, it is crucial that people in this group get enough rest. This is the period in life where we are at risk from chronic and severe illness. There is also the increased possibility of accidents that stem from being tired.

Conclusion


Sleep is essential for the well-being of both the body and the human mind. Skipping sleep for longer periods of time can lead to severe mental disorders and chronic fatigue. Lack of motivation and even depression are linked to sleep deprivation. Getting a good night’s rest allows our bodies and our brains to regenerate and freshen up for the following day. This restoration process is what helps your body recuperate from an all day long activity and stress. Be sure to go to bed on time and leave all distractions aside as soon as you get sleepy. You will be healthier and in a better mood the next day.

Author: Mark Reddick

When I’m not learning about sleep, you can find me watching “the big game” with my friends. I absolutely love sports and have grown to follow the rest aspect in athletes. Modern technology allows us to track athletes sleep and rest, which in turn helps predict their performance.

I hope that everyone that finds our site takes a new approach to sleep. The world needs to stop thinking about it as something “we just do”, but rather something that allows us “to do everyday.”

Cheers to having the best sleep of your life!

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