“How much sleep do I need?” is a common question.
Before we talk numbers, let’s look at how sleep benefits the body, so we understand why quality sleep of a certain length of time is vital to our health.
Is sleep overrated?
There’s a school of believers who think that sleep is overrated. In fact, some people claim to require very little sleep at all. Individuals can google (using sources from across the web) lists of famous people who claim to need little sleep. In fact, three living U.S. Presidents are on them; Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump. Others include Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, Entrepreneur and television and magazine personality Martha Stewart, and Business magnate and investor Elon Musk, as examples. Though highly successful, many of them have short sleep syndrome, typically requiring between 4 to 6 hours of sleep, possibly the result of genes such as DEC2 (causes short sleepers to remain awake for longer), and ADRB1 and NPSR1 (genes that modify the brain’s messengers). Per Lifemd.com “Short sleep syndrome may be hereditary, but more research needs to be done on this subject.
Lucky for them, but what about us?
Lucky for those people on the list, many of them perform well without much sleep. However, most people likely lack these rare gene mutations, and, as a result, do require a good night’s sleep. That’s because many important things like energy conservation and cellular restoration take place while we sleep – without many of us even realizing it! While our bodies are in a true sleep state, they perform vital functions. Things like improved energy levels, immune systems, insulin functions, heart health, digestive health, and brain strength are products of a good night’s rest. Sleep is also time for healing, so adequate sleep is necessary for those living with or recovering from illnesses, diseases, or injuries.
Brains need sleep, too!
The brain benefits greatly from sleep. Per WebMD, sleep helps visual and motor memory learning, which are helpful in everyday life. Sleep allows cells to communicate and reorganize to support healthy brain function. Sleep is critical for thinking. It recharges people and strengthens long-term memory. People who lack sleep find it harder to recall things. They may find it hard to concentrate and complete tasks. Extreme sleep deprivation can lead to drunken-like symptoms, where some cannot perform well doing ordinary tasks.
So, are we getting enough sleep?
The amount of sleep typically required varies through the stages of our lives. What’s adequate for your age? Check out this chart to see if you are getting enough sleep: (And remember that quantity doesn’t equal quality – so be sure to read on to learn tips to improve sleep!) Note that this chart is based on CDC recommendations:
(Newborn) Birth to 3 months:
14 to 17 hours
(Infant) 4 to 12 months:
12 to 16 hours, including naps – per 24 hours
(Toddler) 1 to 2 years:
11 to 14 hours, including naps – per 24 hours
(Preschool) 3 to 5 years:
10 to 13 hours, including naps – per 24 hours
(School age) 6 to 12 years:
9 to 12 hours – per 24 hours
(Teen) 13 to 18 years:
8 to 10 hours -per 24 hours
(Adult) 18 to 60 years:
7 or more hours per night
(Mature adult) 61 to 64 years:
7 to 9 hours
(Mature adult) 65 and older:
7 to 8 hours
Don’t just focus on the numbers. Learn Why:
“How much sleep do I need?” is a common question. The chart above shows the recommended amounts of sleep people should roughly aim for each night or during a 24-hour period as indicated. As one can easily see from looking at the chart, sleep requirements change with age. Required sleep amounts also vary from person to person, which is why the numbers stated are general recommendations. Numbers aside, sleep is vital to good health and functioning well such as having a better memory. Those with trouble sleeping are urged to see a physician for evaluation. Additionally, people with known sleep disorders or poor sleep habits in general should visit their family doctor or a sleep specialist to seek treatment. Don’t forget that not only is the amount of sleep each person gets is valuable for overall health and wellbeing, but sleep quality greatly matters. Please click here to jump to our other articles to learn why good sleep matters.
This article is purely informational and is not intended as a medical resource or substitute for medical advice.