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How Much Sleep Does a Body Need?

How much sleep does your body require?

It would be great to know the exact amount of sleep necessary to start the next day refreshed [with just the right amount of energy to glide through tasks easily], and then fade easily into peaceful sleep when hitting the pillow that night. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a “magic number” of resting hours, as it varies for everyone despite the popular eight-hour rule. In fact, sleep trends indicate that getting a good night’s rest is at the bottom of our national “to-do” list.

Our bodies are pre-programmed to be sleepier at certain times of the day than others. For example, that afternoon slow-down and evening fatigue is completely normal for adults, and is due to your body’s natural “time clock” [scientifically referred to as the Circadian rhythm]. In contrast, the Circadian rhythms of teenagers make for highly alert late-evening hours– which would explain why staying up all night used to be so easy to do. If your household is composed of several age groups, altering schedules to accommodate everyone’s sleeping needs may be difficult but is certainly necessary.

The National Sleep Foundation has established guidelines, seen below, based on particular age groups:

  • Newborn (1 to 2 Months) – 10.5 to 18 Hours
  • Infant (3 to 11 Months) – 9 to 12 hours at night, and 30-minutes to 2-hour naps 1 to 4 times a day
  • Toddlers (1 to 3 years) – 12 to 14 hours
  • Preschoolers (3 to 5 years) – 11 to 13 hours
  • Children (6 to 10 years) – 10 to 11 hours
  • Teenagers (11-17 years) – 8.5 to 9.25 hours
  • Adults – 7 to 9 hours

So how do you find out how many hours of sleep you personally need? The answer is found by simply going to bed. Mark everything off the to-do list, clear your mind, and sleep for a set number of hours, making a note of how you feel the next morning. Some people perform perfectly well on just six hours, but others easily need nine—the key is to listen to your body. Try testing several different times to determine which is ideal for you, and then maintain that routine, even on the weekends! Tailor a routine to fit your entire family based on their needs, and avoid planning activities that will disrupt their respective sleep schedules.

Most importantly, designate your bedroom the “sleep-only room” and make it as peaceful and comfortable as possible so you can fall asleep easily and stay asleep. If your mattress or pillows are making it difficult to rest, it’s time for an upgrade. All activities such as eating, watching television or working on the computer need to happen in another room. Still having problems winding down? The National Institutes of Health recommend that you try taking a warm bath, listening to soothing music or drinking a warm beverage. They also advise that you avoid consuming alcohol or caffeine two to three hours before bed, and that you get your exercise several hours before bed. Sleep well!

Sources:

  1. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/prof/sleep/res_plan/sleep-rplan.pdf “2003 National Sleep Disorders Research Plan”
  2. http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need “How much sleep do we really need?”
36 Comments Post a comment
  1. great article i usually get 7 hours so great to know i am getting the recommended.

    January 31, 2012
  2. I found this article VERY informative. Thank you!

    January 31, 2012
  3. I need 8 hrs to make me wake feeling well rested

    January 31, 2012
  4. why do pillows never last when you buy them nice and fluffy and then their go flat I really could do with a new pillow right now

    January 31, 2012
  5. 8 Hours!

    January 31, 2012
  6. 7 hrs a sleep are a dream!

    January 31, 2012
  7. 7-9 hours id like 9 hours

    January 31, 2012
  8. I need at leat 8 hrs of sleep or I’m crabby

    January 31, 2012
  9. wow had no idea . and i sure aint getting but about a 1/4 to what i should :/

    January 31, 2012
  10. I need some sleep…help

    January 31, 2012
  11. I need 8-10 hours sleep, but I’m thinking that if I had a better pillow and mattress, I wouldn’t need as much sleep. Know what I mean? How I’d love to at least have a new pillow…a good one.

    January 31, 2012
  12. I really like the idea of making a bedroom a sleep only room. I don’t do this, and I feel like a lot of people don’t, but I think it would be extremely helpful and help my body learn when it’s time to rest and shut down for the night.

    January 31, 2012
  13. WoW! our room is a sleep only rm, I get about 6 to 7 hrs at night with a 2-3 hr nap in the after noon, But maybe with a better pillow I may get a better night sleep so a nap is not needed in the afternoon

    January 31, 2012
  14. I usually need 8 hours. More is always nice. 😀

    January 31, 2012
  15. I’m lucky if I get 7 but do wake up rested @treetrout1

    January 31, 2012
  16. I usually get around 6-7 hours – I think it’s just enough.

    January 31, 2012
  17. What a wonderful and informative article! Thank you so much for sharing! Great to know all the different amounts of sleep for different ages, and to know that I do not get enough sleep! I guess the first start to get sleep would be to have a great pillow and a comfy bed. Time to save up and get rid of my old mattress! LOL

    January 31, 2012
  18. 7 is usually about my average. It is good to know I am well where I need to be. My son (who is six today) generally wants to sleep longer but school requires him to be up early. Makes you wonder why school starts so early. (?)

    January 31, 2012
  19. I need 9 hours of sleep!

    January 31, 2012
  20. I usually get 5-6 but need at least 8-9!

    January 31, 2012
  21. I’m a nine-hour gal… 🙂

    January 31, 2012
  22. I wake up so many times at night… I dont know how much sleep im actually getting. Any tips on being able to sleep strait till morning?

    January 31, 2012
  23. I think I need more. But 9 is usually ok

    January 31, 2012
  24. bessamy #

    I can get away with 6 hours. Sometimes I need more. It just depends. Good article!

    January 31, 2012
  25. 8 – 9 Hours!

    January 31, 2012
  26. i toss and turn literaly rip th e bed apart not sleeping well at all 8hrs sleep-notin years lucky if i get 4-5 i need a new pillow or something

    January 31, 2012
  27. I sometimes only sleep 4 hours a night. By mid morning, I am ready to crash.

    January 31, 2012
  28. I need at least 6 hours sleep.

    January 31, 2012
  29. These are some good sleep tips! I use to have insomnia and as soon as I started using my bedroom only for sleep and started going to bed at the same time and waking up the same time each day, my insomnia soon went away!

    January 31, 2012
  30. I need 12 hours of good restful sleep on a great pillow every night or I’m no good the next day~

    February 1, 2012
  31. Rather, anymore helpfull tips!

    February 1, 2012
  32. I wish someone would convince my kids they need that much sleep, lol. They don’t seem to believe me!!

    February 1, 2012
  33. the amount of sleep i need had reduced as my age increased. that is kind of weird.

    February 1, 2012
  34. good advice

    February 1, 2012
  35. my age group needs 7/8

    February 1, 2012
  36. 7-9 hours is pretty usual for me, but sometimes I sleep 12 hours without waking up once!

    February 1, 2012

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