Sleep: it’s something everybody needs. However, how much you need to sleep can vary based on several unique factors.
Too little sleep can cause unwelcome side effects, like fatigue, irritability, and trouble focusing. Sleeping too much can also have negative impacts on your well-being. The CDC estimates that as many as one-third of adults are not getting enough shut-eye.
So, how can you tell how much sleep you need? Keep reading to find out.
Calculating Your Sleep Needs
There are general guidelines to determine how much sleep you need. That said, these guidelines do not consider a person’s unique health conditions, lifestyle choices, stress levels, and so much more. Some people may need more or less sleep than the recommended amount.
The general sleep requirements for each age group are as follows:
- 0-3 months old: 14-17 hours of sleep per day
- 4-11 months old: 12-15 hours of sleep per day
- 1-2 years old: 11-14 hours of sleep per day
- 3-5 years old: 10-13 hours of sleep per day
- 6-13 years old: 9-11 hours of sleep per day
- 14-17 years old: 8-10 hours of sleep per day
- 18-64 years old: 7-9 hours of sleep per day
- 65 years or older: 7-8 hours of sleep per day
As you can see, the amount of sleep needed gradually decreases as we age. Additionally, there is a two-hour range in each suggested sleep requirement. This is because while some adults will feel fully rested on 7 hours of sleep, others may need closer to 9 to feel their best.
Tips for Improving Sleep
The best thing you can do to ensure better sleep is to make sure you are leaving enough time in your day for a full 8 hours of rest. This means setting a bedtime (and sticking to it)! To decide what time you should go to bed, simply start with what time you need to wake up and count backward.
You may want to factor in the time it takes to fall asleep – most people take anywhere from 5-20 minutes to fall into slumber. Apart from setting a more structured sleep schedule for yourself, there are a few other tips you can keep in mind to improve your sleep:
- Get physical activity each day. Physical activity helps tire out the body and mind, making falling and staying asleep easier.
- Avoid caffeine and nicotine, particularly in the second half of the day.
- Avoid screen time 2 hours before going to bed. The synthetic light in cellphones and TVs can mess with our body’s natural circadian rhythm.
- Minimize sound and light. For the best sleep, you’ll want to make your bedroom sleep-friendly. This may include using a white noise machine, buying black-out curtains, or an eye mask.
Sleep is vital to maintain sharp mental health and peak physical health. Unfortunately, many adults aren’t getting enough of it! Thankfully, there are easy steps you can take at home to maximize your sleep each night.