How Much Sleep You Need, According To Your Age
Your age impacts your relationship from your body, particularly its energy levels. While we are broadly recommended around 8 hours per night, this can be too much, or too little, depending on how old you are. Certain stages of life, such as a teenager in school or university who is also working, sees a much higher expenditure of energy. These groups require much more sleep than others. They are also more likely to have hectic schedules that cause irregular sleeping patterns.
Knowing how much sleep your age group needs is the first step towards better sleep and better energy. Once you know what you need to know, you can adapt your lifestyle. Learning these habits in the long term will help you feel better in both body and mind.
Sleep Recommendations, According to Age
Babies and Toddlers
Babies are wildly inconsistent in how much sleep they need. The NHS reckons that a baby’s sleep can range from 8 to even 18 hours a day as a newborn. After three months, your baby will be on more of a sleep schedule and sleep more consistently rather than sporadically. This is typically 8 hours a day or more.
From 6-12 months, all the way up to around 3 or 4 years old, young children will sleep for around 12 hours a day. This includes daytime naps. This is only an estimation, however. It is not inherently an issue if your child sleeps a different amount, but you can speak to a doctor if you are concerned.
From around infancy of 3-5 until they reach their teens, your child needs around 10 hours of sleep a day, according to the NHS. This amount changes as they get older younger children are at the upper end of the scale, and require up to 13 hours. Children aged 6-12 need slightly less, at around 9-12 hours.
Teenagers are quite complicated when it comes to sleep – so much so, that we’ve created a comprehensive guide to teens and their relationship. The short answer is that teens need 8-10 hours of sleep per night, around two hours more than an adult.
Because teens are more prone to tiredness due to puberty and other life changes, they can still be tired. This is where naps can come in handy. Sleeping a consistent schedule, along with daily exercise, is the key to getting the most benefit out of sleep.
When you’re caught between being a teen and being an adult, young adults are at an age where they’re still feeling the tiredness of growing up. Young people may be more likely to stay up later, and with part-time jobs and university, your schedule can be wildly inconsistent.
Although young adults and adults are recommended the same 7-9 hours a night, they may lean more towards teens who sleep an average of two 2 hours more than adults. Napping can be pretty useful for adults who have days that vary from day to day in terms of waking hours. This can help you feel more energised during the day. See our guide to naps for more advice.
It is consistently agreed upon that an adult needs around 7-9 hours per night. When you get a bit older, you may not find yourself bouncing back from a late night so easily. You are also more vulnerable to sleep conditions such as insomnia as you get older. This is why it is important to sleep as consistently as you can, going to bed and waking up around the same time.
What’s also important for an adult to feel energised is having as many hours of quality sleep as possible. This is when you are getting deep, REM sleep – the deepest level of the sleep cycle. REM sleep is when your body restores from the wear and tear of the day.
Elderly people are known as early risers, getting up before the rest of us and going to bed earlier. This is because older people typically need a little less sleep than everyone else. Roughly, they need around 7-8 hours per night.
However, because they are more vulnerable to health conditions, this can cause interrupted sleep. This can be because of bladder issues or sleep apnea, for example. Elderly people should keep a consistent daily sleep schedule to help counteract interrupted sleep. They should also keep in contact with their doctor if problems persist, as poor sleep can lead to poor health.