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How Much Sleep Do Babies, Teens, and Adults Really Need?

by Product Specialist IV

How Much Sleep Do Babies, Teens, and Adults Really Need?

How Much Sleep Do Babies, Teens, and Adults Really Need?

We all know that getting enough sleep is vital for starting your day off right and maintaining healthy habits. But how much is enough? It turns out, that answer varies from person to person, and it changes throughout the course of your life.

Babies

It might not seem like it to their exhausted parents, but babies and very young children need more sleep than any other age group. Newborns up to three months old need between 14 and 17 hours of sleep every night, with some kids averaging closer to 19 or 20 hours. Kids will continue to need more than a half a day’s worth of sleep up until they’re about 5 years old. Of course, little ones will often resist bedtimes, which just makes it even more important that they take plenty of naps during the daytime.

Teens

Once kids hit the teenage years, sleep starts to get more complicated. Some research shows that not only do teenagers typically need more sleep than elementary school-aged kids, their natural circadian rhythms shift during puberty, making it harder to fall asleep before 11 pm. Teenagers typically need between 8 and 10 hours of sleep every night, but one study suggests that less than 15 percent of teens get the recommended amount of rest. This shift in teens’ internal body clocks comes at a time when kids have more responsibilities than ever, and are expected to wake up earlier for high school classes. Organizations like the National Sleep Foundation have advocated for later school start times, saying that teens do better in school and take fewer risks when they’re well rested. In the meantime, parents can encourage healthy sleeping habits in teens by setting a regular sleep schedule and keeping teens away from technology before bedtime.

Adults

Everyone is different, but researchers say that most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night to operate at full capacity. Many of us have learned to get by on 6 hours and a few cups of coffee, but research shows that missing our recommended sleep quotas can have long-term health consequences. One study has connected adult sleep loss with increased risks of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Sleep has also been closely linked to mental health, and getting a solid 8 hours of shuteye has been shown to help fight depression and anxiety.

How to improve your sleep habits

When you’re drowning in sleep debt, it can be overwhelming to imagine getting out of it, but there are steps you can take to catch up on sleep. Daily exercise can help regulate a schedule out-of-whack, and skipping on sleep-stealers like caffeine and alcohol late at night can make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. A good mattress can also help promote a better night’s rest. The type of mattress you choose can have a big impact on your shuteye—for example, memory foam mattresses can offer some relief to people with chronic fatigue and muscle pain, while adjustable beds can help with medical conditions like sleep apnea that make sleeping difficult. If you already have a sleep debt, you can get back on track by keeping a regular nightly sleeping schedule and taking short daytime naps.