How many hours of sleep are enough for good health?
Answer From Eric J. Olson, M.D.
The amount of sleep you need depends on various factors — especially your age. While sleep needs vary significantly among individuals, consider these general guidelines for different age groups:
||Recommended amount of sleep
|Infants 4 months to 12 months
||12 to 16 hours per 24 hours, including naps
|1 to 2 years
||11 to 14 hours per 24 hours, including naps
|3 to 5 years
||10 to 13 hours per 24 hours, including naps
|6 to 12 years
||9 to 12 hours per 24 hours
|13 to 18 years
||8 to 10 hours per 24 hours
||7 or more hours a night
In addition to age, other factors can affect how many hours of sleep you need. For example:
- Sleep quality. If your sleep is frequently interrupted, you're not getting quality sleep. The quality of your sleep is just as important as the quantity.
- Previous sleep deprivation. If you're sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.
- Pregnancy. Changes in hormone levels and physical discomfort can result in poor sleep quality.
- Aging. Older adults need about the same amount of sleep as younger adults. As you get older, however, your sleeping patterns might change. Older adults tend to sleep more lightly, take longer to start sleeping and sleep for shorter time spans than do younger adults. Older adults also tend to wake up multiple times during the night.
For kids, getting the recommended amount of sleep on a regular basis is linked with better health, including improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, the ability to control emotions, quality of life, and mental and physical health.
For adults, getting less than seven hours of sleep a night on a regular basis has been linked with poor health, including weight gain, having a body mass index of 30 or higher, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and depression.
If you're concerned about the amount of sleep you or your child is getting, talk to your doctor or your child's doctor.
May 15, 2021
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See more Expert Answers
- Brain basics: Understanding sleep. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Understanding-Sleep. Accessed March 31, 2021.
- Paruthi S, et al. Recommended amount of sleep for pediatric populations: A consensus statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. 2016; doi.org/10.5664/jcsm.5866.
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- Cirelli C. Insufficient sleep: Definition, epidemiology, and adverse outcomes. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed March 31, 2021.
- Kryger MH, et al., eds. Normal sleep. In: Atlas of Clinical Sleep Medicine. 2nd ed. Saunders Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 31, 2021.
- Watson NF, et al. Recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult: A joint consensus statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society. 2015; doi.org/10.5664/jcsm.4758.