How much should you sleep a night?
Sleeping is potentially the most important thing you can do for your body. A poor nights sleep always leads to a bit of a grumpy and unproductive day. But how much should you sleep a night? Generally, the number that comes to mind is 8 hours, that's what we've all been told to go by as a guideline. But does it depend on the person? Some people swear they can survive on just 4 hours per night. Others believe they need a whopping 12 hours of sleep. Turns out a lot of it comes down to your age and the younger you are, the more sleep you need to function. Here's how much to sleep per night based on the facts...
The general guideline for optimum sleep per night based on age goes as follows:
Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours of sleep
Adults (18–64 years): 7–9 hours
Teenagers (14–17 years): 8–10 hours
School children (6–13 years): 9–11 hours
Preschoolers (3–5 years): 10–13 hours
Toddlers (1–2 years): 11–14 hours
Infants (4–11 months): 12–15 hours
Newborns (0–3 months): 14–17 hours
But why do we need less sleep the older we get? Truth is, it's not that you need less sleep, it's more of a struggle to sleep. Think back to when you were a child, how often did you find yourself waking up at 4 am to check the news? Or putting off going to sleep to watch just one more episode of Suits? Truth is, most of us lose the ability to complete a full nights sleep the older we get. The less sleep you get, the more used to that amount of sleep you become and it becomes the new normal.
The age chart is more of a guideline on how much sleep to try and aim for per night. Everyone's sleep needs are completely different, some people get a full 10 hours, some 5 hours and mid-afternoon nap. If you feel refreshed after a sleep, that's all that matters. A lot of the time, the amount we sleep is hardwired into our genetics. For example, there is a specific genetic mutation that causes people to function perfectly on 6 hours sleep but for the most part, it's hardwired into our brains to get around 8 hours.
How you respond to sleep deprivation, what time of day you prefer to sleep and what time you tend to wake up is generally down to passed down in genetics. So, if both of your parents respond badly to not getting their full sleep cycle, likely hood is, you will too.
Sleep quality plays a massive part in how much sleep you need. Because like all things in life, quality is better than quantity. If you find yourself waking up all hours of the night and struggling to stay asleep, it's likely that you'll need a nap to get through the day. Ultimately, it's whatever feels right. If you prefer a smaller sleep at night with a nap in the afternoon or a full 10 hours at night, do what works best for you.
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