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How Much Sleep You Actually Need (According to Your Age)

Yawning, irritable, forgetful, hungry… sound familiar?

According to The Great British Bedtime Report, the majority of Brits (70%) are scraping by on 7 hours or less a night. But experts say this isn’t enough. Evidence shows that long-term sleep deprivation can lead to a range of serious health issues. Getting enough sleep, on the other hand, is linked to feeling happier, better health, and even looking younger.

It’s clear that sufficient sleep is important, but how much do we need? It’s an individual question. Some people find they can function perfectly well on 6 hours’ sleep. Others need 8-9 hours of quality sleep each night to get through the day. Interestingly, over-sleeping can have a similarly adverse effect on your mood as getting a poor night’s sleep, and how much sleep you need does, in fact, alter with age.

Early life

baby sleeping

In those first few years of rapid growth and development, babies and toddlers need a huge amount of sleep. Of course, as weary parents will attest, babies’ sleeping patterns are irregular and their sleep cycles are much shorter.

  • Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours
  • Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours
  • Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours

Young children

tired kids

Kids are busy and they need a lot of sleep. At this age, sleep is a vital part of a child’s physical growth and their ability to learn new skills. It’s important to set a regular bedtime routine for school-aged children to ensure they are getting enough quality sleep each night.

  • Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours
  • School-Age Children (6-13): 9-11 hours

Adolescence to early adulthood

teen insomnia

Teenagers often get a bad rap for being lazy, but those extra hours of snooze are really needed to help mediate the inevitable ups and down of puberty. Exam season is a particularly important time for adolescents to be getting enough quality sleep each night.

Though typically the recommended amount of sleep for adults is 7-9 hours, new research recognises that we may still need up to 10 hours of sleep each night in our early twenties.

  • Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours
  • Young Adults (18-25): 7-9 hours

Adults & older adults


As we get older, it becomes much harder to get a solid night of uninterrupted sleep – especially if you’re a parent dealing with one of those tireless toddlers. However, how much sleep you actually need remains consistent.

  • Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours
  • Older Adults (65+): 7-8 hours

So to sum up, no matter which decade you belong to, anything under 5 hours’ sleep a night can be harmful to your health!

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