Sleeping Schedule: How Much Do You Need?


Sleep is a lovely thing. Not only does it help you be men­tally pre­pared for what­ever comes your way, it also helps your body with bal­anc­ing hor­mones, help­ing your immune sys­tem, and help­ing with your heart and blood ves­sels. But how much sleep do you need to get these ben­e­fits and not feel groggy or tired the next day? Accord­ing to the National Sleep Foun­da­tion, the answer is based on two things: your age and your lifestyle.

Age

Researchers agree that as you grow older, the amount of sleep you need decreases based on age. Here are the ranges accord­ing to the National Sleep Foundation.

  • 0–2 months: 12–18 hours
  • 3–11 months: 14–15 hours
  • 1–3 years: 12–14 hours
  • 3–5 years: 11–13 hours
  • 5–10 years: 10–11 hours
  • 11–17 years: 8 ½ –9 ½ hours
  • 18+ years: 7–9 hours

Lifestyle

Do you stay up late at night to fin­ish work, and then get up early for work the next morn­ing? Do you take mul­ti­ple naps dur­ing the day because you con­tin­u­ally feel sleepy? How your sleep cycles change can affect how tired you are, and how much sleep you need. Every­one has a “basal sleep need,” mean­ing the amount of sleep you need to be at your best through the day. How­ever, when we cut down on those hours for any rea­son and get less than the required amount, we build up a “sleep debt”, rest hours we need to get back. We then need to sleep more in order to pay off the amount we are “in debt” for. This whole process is some­thing that researchers are still study­ing, since some peo­ple may meet their basal sleep need in one day, and oth­ers may need a longer time period.