Scientific research clearly shows that sleep is important at any age. Sleep strengthens the mind, rejuvenates the body, and strengthens almost every system in the body. But how much sleep do we need to get these benefits?

National Sleep Foundation guidelines1 recommend that healthy adults get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Babies, toddlers, and teenagers need more sleep to grow and develop. And people over 65 should spend 7-8 hours a day.

Knowing the general guidelines for how much sleep you need is the first step. Then it’s important to factor in your individual needs based on factors like your activity level and overall health. Finally, it is necessary to implement healthy sleep tips so that you can get the recommended full night’s sleep.

Recommended sleep time by age group
Recommended sleep duration is divided into nine age groups. Each group’s guidelines offer recommended nighttime sleep times for healthy people. In some cases, one hour more or less sleep depends on the individual’s condition.

How much sleep do you need?
These guidelines provide a general rule of thumb for determining how much sleep children and adults need, and recognize that the ideal amount of sleep varies from person to person.

For this reason, the guidelines specify times for each age group. The recommendations also recognize that for some people with unique circumstances, there is room to turn around on both sides for sleeping, which is “acceptable” but not optimal.

Deciding how much sleep you need means taking into account your health, daily activities, and normal sleep patterns. Here are some questions to help determine your sleep needs:

Are you productive, healthy, and happy with seven hours of sleep? Or have you noticed that you need more hours of sleep to kick into high gear?
Do you have frequent health problems? Are you at high risk for any disease?
Is your daily energy expenditure high? Do you regularly play sports or have a demanding job?
Do you need vigilance to ensure safety in your daily activities? Do you drive or operate heavy machinery every day? Do you feel drowsy when doing these things?
Do you have or do you have sleep problems?
Do you drink caffeine to get you through the day?
Do you sleep more than you would on a normal weekday with an open schedule?
Start with the tips above, then use the answers to these questions to get the best sleep possible.
How are recommendations developed?
An 18-member panel of experts from various fields of science and medicine was convened to come up with these recommended sleep times. Panel members reviewed hundreds of peer-reviewed research studies on key health outcomes including sleep duration, cardiovascular disease, depression, pain, and diabetes.

After reviewing the evidence, team members used a series of votes and discussions to narrow down the amount of sleep needed for different ages. In total, the process took over nine months to complete.

Other organizations such as the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and the Society for Sleep Research (SRS) have published recommendations for the amount of sleep needed for adults2 and children3. Overall, these institutions are closely aligned in their findings with similar institutions in Canada.4

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