How Much Sleep Do I Need?

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Dr. Dan Jensen
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Have you been getting enough sleep? You’ve probably heard that you should sleep between 7 and 9 hours every night. Sleep is absolutely essential, but the amount of sleep you need is unique to you. Find out exactly how much sleep you need to feel well rested and energetic every day.

Sleep for Your Age

The National Sleep Foundation provides guidelines on sleep based on your age. Here are their recommendations:

  • Newborn babies need 14 – 17 hours of sleep per night.
  • Infants should sleep 12 – 15 hours per night. 
  • Toddlers need between 11 – 14 hours of sleep each night.
  • Preschool children need 10 – 13 hours of sleep. 
  • School aged children should sleep at least 9 – 11 hours per night.
  • Teenagers should be getting 8 – 10 hours of sleep a night.
  • Adults need a minimum of 7 – 9 hours of sleep to feel well rested.
  • Older adults need at least 7 – 8 hours of great sleep. 

These sleep ranges are just a simple rule of thumb, and you or your family may need more or less sleep than indicated.

Your Unique Sleep Needs

Now that you know the general guidelines, you can reflect on your individual sleep needs. First, take some time to reflect on your overall well being, as well as your normal sleep patterns. Then ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you feel energetic throughout the day, or do you have periods of low energy?
  • Do you feel productive and happy after 7 hours of sleep, or do you need 8 or more hours to feel very productive?
  • Do you need a cup of coffee every morning before you have enough stamina to start the day?
  • Do you hit the snooze button several times before you can drag yourself out of bed?
  • Do you have a very active lifestyle and use a lot of energy during the day? Do you have a physically demanding job or lots of active hobbies?
  • Do you have any underlying health issues, and does being tired change your health?
  • Do you feel sleepy during the day, or feel drowsy when working, driving, or hanging out with your family?
  • Do you have any sleep problems?
  • Do you spend your days off sleeping in late or taking very long naps to catch up on sleep?

By asking yourself these questions you can take a critical look at your sleep habits. If you realize you’re struggling with low energy and fatigue, try sleeping an extra hour or two every night. If you’re feeling very energetic and always wake up before your alarm, you can try sleeping a little less. 

Tips for Better Sleep

If you’re not sleeping enough, it’s time to prioritize rest! Maybe your sleep is acceptable, but it’s not optimal for you and your needs. Make a nightly sleep goal, and work towards getting the right amount of sleep. Here are a few tips to help you sleep better, feel energetic, and get the rest you need.

  • Make sleep a priority: The first thing you need to do is prioritize your sleep! You may need to cut back on some other activities or change your schedule so you can get the sleep you need each and every night. Don’t let work or social activities come between you and a good night’s rest. Getting better sleep each night will make you more productive and make socializing more fun, so don’t sacrifice your sleep.
  • Develop your sleep hygiene: Getting enough rest is easier if you have great sleep hygiene. This includes things like lowering the temperature in your room at night and wearing an eye mask or hanging room darkening curtains. You’ll also want to establish nighttime routines with a relaxation period, and stay away from your phone, computer, or TV screens for at least an hour before crawling into bed.
  • Stick to a routine: To get better sleep, stick to the same sleep routine all the time. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends. After a couple weeks, you’ll sync with your body’s internal clock, and it will be much easier to fall asleep and wake up.

To find out more about optimal sleep and get more sleeping tips, visit Sound Sleep Medical for a consultation.