We’ve all seen the numbers that get thrown around.
8 hours of sleep is what you need to function normally, right?
Maybe 7-9 depending on who you are. But some people naturally wake up after only six hours. Some people need closer to ten if they’ve had a rough night.
So what does the science actually say? How much sleep do I need for my age?
How Much Sleep You Need Is Entirely Dependent On Your Body
Yes, there are recommended guidelines for how much sleep you need per age bracket – we will outline those below. But the important thing to remember is that these sleep guidelines are just guidelines.
What people do not take into account is that there is always a statistical variance around the recommended guidelines for sleep. This may sound fancy and complicated, but the important thing to keep in mind is that you are a unique individual with unique sleep needs, just like else.
Listen To Your Body
The key takeaway here is that you need to listen to your body. Just because the average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep to function doesn’t mean that your body is wrong for only requiring 5 or 6 hours or sleep, or even preferring nine and a half hours of sleep to feel comfortable.
That being said, there are always things you should be doing to improve your sleep hygiene, and we will outline some of those steps below.
But if you have good sleep hygiene and you still fall outside the recommended guidelines for your age, it is okay – that is the most important thing to highlight.
General Sleep Guidelines Per-Age
Courtesy of The Sleep Health Journal
As you can see, the recommended numbers generally tend to fall between 7 and 10 hours of sleep throughout your life. This number tends to be higher during the onset and duration of puberty and generally tapers off a bit as you age.
But once again, this is just a guideline – you need more or less sleep to function at your best, that is generally okay as long as you feel well rested and are practicing good sleep hygiene.
If you do not feel like you are getting restful, adequate sleep, there are a number of things you can do to help improve your sleep hygiene and get the quality sleep you deserve.
Tips To Improve Sleep Hygiene – Stay Off The Screens Before Bed
It can be tempting to watch one more episode of your favorite television show or de-stress by looking on your phone before bed, but this is one of the worst things you can do before bed.
Why? Because the lights emitted from the screen (especially blue light) essentially tells your brain that it is time to stay awake. Try turning off all screens at least one hour before bed.
Regardless of your age, regular exercise is a necessary component of a healthy lifestyle. It can also have drastic and positive effects on your sleep quality, and make it easier to fall asleep at night. Talk to your doctor about the best exercise routine for your age and lifestyle.
Limit Alcohol Intake
Many people like to drink a glass of wine to relax from a hard day at work. However, research has shown that even one standard unit of alcohol (measured as a 12 oz. beer, 1 oz shot, or 5 oz or wine) can disrupt your REM cycles and degrade your sleep quality.
Additionally, alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it increases your fluid passing system. In many cases, it means you have will to use the bathroom more frequently and oftentimes in the middle of the night which further degrades your sleep quality.
Lay Off The Caffeine
Many people all over the world rely on a cup of coffee to start their day, or an energy drink to keep them going in the afternoon. However, caffeine can greatly impair your ability to fall asleep quickly, thus disrupting your much-needed beauty rest.
It is estimated that caffeine remains in your system for up to 6 hours after you consume it, so definitely think twice before reaching for that afternoon cup.
Keep in mind that as we stated above, people’s bodies all react differently, so you may be hypersensitive to the effects of caffeine.
For an easy switch, we recommend looking into teas and not drinking anything with significant caffeine 8-10 hours before bed. In fact, drinking certain types of teas such as chamomile can even help improve your sleep quality.
Get A Check Up
Are you dealing with an underlying medical condition? If so, many of them affect sleep quality, which is why you may be sleeping at weird intervals or perhaps poorly. Even if you are unaware of a medical issue, talk to your doctor if your sleep health seems to get worse.
Try A Weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets work by simulating Deep Pressure Touch (DPT), which is the same sensation that comes from a hug. This sensation helps with anxiety, stress, and can even help you fall asleep faster and improve your overall sleep quality. We recommend utilizing Mosaic Weighted Blanket.
Make Sure Your Sleep Conditions Are Ideal
For many people, sleeping through the night without disruptions can be quite difficult. Many of us have to contend with city noises and lights, snoring partners or children waking up in the middle of the night.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help block out various noises and disruptions. There are a variety of high-quality devices you can use to cancel out noises completely, and we highly recommend picking one up.
Additionally, if you are living in a situation where there are disruptive lights (such as a city), there are a number of fantastic sleep masks you can use to completely block out lights.
It has also been documented that in general, the ideal sleep temperature for most people is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Try and find what temperature is best for you.
Stick To A Schedule
It has been widely documented that sticking to a schedule can drastically improve your sleep quality by limiting the amount of time it takes for you to fall asleep. Try and go to bed and wake up at the same time every day of the week – yes, this includes weekends!
Can I Change How Much Sleep I Need?
On a certain level, we each have a genetic predisposition towards needing a certain amount of hours of sleep per night. For most people, this is between 7-9 hours per night. It is impossible to change this – it is like trying to change your hair color.
However, there is another important factor here which is your environment. Most people do not live their lives in a completely sleep indusive environment.
In this case, you may be a person who only requires 7 hours of sleep, but because of various factors (stress, caffeine intake, etc) your body needs 9 hours of sleep. Re-read some of the tips we have laid out above to improve your sleep hygiene.
What Are “Normal” Sleep Hours?
According to Dr. Neil Stanley, between 4 and 11 hours of sleep is what is considered “normal sleep”. Obviously, this number is surprising since most of us need way more than 4 hours of sleep, and could not possibly fathom sleeping 11 hours a night.
However, it is all about listening to your body. If your body says you only need 4 hours of sleep, then you should listen to it. Vice versa if you need 11 hours.
There you have it – how much sleep do I need for my age? The answer truly depends. We hope these general guidelines have been useful, but keep in mind that everyone is different. Listen to your body, improve your general sleep hygiene, and learn how to get a better nights sleep. Feel free to leave a comment below.