We are all aware that adequate sleep is essential to balanced energy levels, mood regulation, and overall health and happiness. But what constitutes a good night’s sleep? Do we know what adequate sleep actually looks like? Is the well-known adage of eight hours a night actually supported by science? Let’s dive deep into the research about how many hours of sleep you really need each night.
Not surprisingly, age plays a significant factor in how much sleep you need. The guidelines from the National Sleep Foundation say that young children of six to thirteen years of age should get between 9 and 11 hours of sleep. This follows logic. Their bodies are constantly experiencing growth spurts, and during deep sleep, bodies can recover and grow. The physical body is cultivated and nourished during sleep, but the brain is improving as well. According to a sleep article on Good Housekeeping, while you are experiencing REM sleep, your brain analyzes all the sensory information you absorbed during the day and improves your long-term memory. Kids are experiencing many things for the first time, and they need sleep to process and internalize what they’ve learned about the world.
Teenagers aged 14 to 17 need about eight to ten hours of sleep per night. Teenagers are continuously growing and the energy required to get through puberty calls for a well-balanced nutrition and quality sleep. Teenagers often have several commitments such as school or even a part-time job which require waking up early. Paired with poor bedtime habits, this is a recipe for disaster as it makes it easy for them to skimp on sleep when they actually need it the most. If you have teenagers, make sure to emphasize the importance of sleep and teach your youngster good sleep hygiene habits, such as setting aside electronic devices before bed and having a wind-down routine to get relaxed and ready for some shut-eye.
Adults between 18 and 64 years old should shoot for 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. The sleep requirement is not much different for adults 65 and up (7 to 8 hours a night). These guidelines provide ideal ranges to aim for to achieve better overall health. Did you know that being chronically sleep-deprived can lead to dangerous health issues such as higher cardiovascular disease risk, increased inflammation in the body, higher risk for metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, and an increased risk for injuries? Prioritize getting the proper hours of sleep per night. If your quality of sleep is suffering, please speak to your healthcare provider as you may be diagnosed with a sleep disorder that can be treated effectively, therefore giving you a better quality of life.