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
||14 to 17 hours a day
||About 10 hours at night, plus 4 hours of naps
||About 11 to 12 hours at night, plus a 1- to 2-hour afternoon nap
|3 to 5 years
||10 to 13 hours
|6 to 13 years
||9 to 11 hours
|14 to 17 years
||8 to 10 hours
||7 to 9 hours
In addition to age, other factors can affect how many hours of sleep you need. For example:
- Pregnancy. Changes in the body during early pregnancy can increase the need for sleep.
- 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 and for shorter time spans than do younger adults.
- Previous sleep deprivation. If you're sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.
- 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.
Some people claim to feel rested on just a few hours of sleep a night, but their performance is likely affected. Research shows that people who sleep so little over many nights don't perform as well on complex mental tasks as do people who get closer to seven hours of sleep a night.
June 06, 2019
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 May 13, 2019.
- Hay WW, et al., eds. Child development and behavior. In: Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Pediatrics. 24th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2018. https://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com. Accessed May 14, 2019.
- Waters F, et al. Severe sleep deprivation causes hallucinations and a gradual progression toward psychosis with increasing time awake. Frontiers in Psychiatry. 2018;9:303. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00303. Accessed May 14, 2019.
- Cirelli C. Insufficient sleep: Definition, epidemiology, and adverse outcomes. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed May 14, 2019.
- Kryger MH, et al., eds. Normal sleep. In: Atlas of Clinical Sleep Medicine. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 13, 2019.
- Gabbe SG, et al., eds. Maternal physiology. In: Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2017. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 14, 2019.