How Much Sleep You Really Need Based On Your Age, According To Science

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As it turns out, no one is getting enough sleep these days. We have too many things to do during the day and because we can never find the time to do it all, we stress and burn out which are all factors that keep us stuck in a dangerous cycle.

While sleep is vital and absolutely necessary for our function, 35% of the population state that they get less than the recommended minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night. We’re living in a lack of sleep epidemic that the Center for Disease Control has actually called a health epidemic. So how much sleep can you actually survive with?

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Insomnia Is The New Norm

We live in a fast-paced society where before even making it through our current task we’re already thinking about the next. This go-go-go attitude prevents us from living in the moment and puts us in a state of constant anxiety that makes us develop harmful coping mechanisms and takes a toll on our sleeping habits.

man yawning and holding his had to his mouth
Sander Sammy / Unsplash
Sander Sammy / Unsplash

About 40 percent of adults suffer from insomnia, according to the National Sleep Foundation. It’s becoming a norm that we think we just have to live with. However, we have the power to reprogram our minds and bodies to sleep better and live better if we prioritize the right number of hours of sleep that we need at our age.

Newborns And Infants

Naturally growing children need a lot more sleep than adults do. Newborn babies (zero to three months old) need 14 to 17 hours while infants (four to 11 months old) need 12 to 15 hours.

baby laying in bed under blanket
Michal Bar Haim / Unsplash
Michal Bar Haim / Unsplash

We are born blank slates with every capacity and possibility for optimal health, and achievement of our highest selves. However, to reach the opportunities we dream of, we must put ourselves i a position to receive them. The more we grow up, the less we take care of our basic needs such as sleep. Babies are not born conditioned to work like machines without taking the time to care of themselves.

Toddlers And Preschoolers

Toddlers (one to two years old) are supposed to sleep 11 to 14 hours while preschoolers (three to five years old) need 10 to 13 hours. However what kids need at that age is to develop the habit of a regular sleep schedule. This is a habit that gets lost on us as we grow up.

Sam K / Pexels
Sam K / Pexels

Our bodies are meant to wake up with the sun and sleep with the moon to regulate themselves. This process works naturally like a clock affecting our body temperature and energy level. When we push ourselves to stay up late or go to bed at different times every night, we cause our body to become confused and chronically exhausted.

School Aged Children

School-aged children, aged six to 13 years need about nine to 11 hours. These kids are at the most optimal stage for personality development and habit forming. If we reinforce the importance of sleep at this age, they have the capacity to understand it and instill it as a value to take with them into adulthood.

Matheus Bertelli / Pexels
Matheus Bertelli / Pexels

School-aged children also have the advantage of living on a routine school schedule which helps regulate their bodies and their internal clock.


Teenagers (14 to 17 years old) need eight to 10 hours. The problem with this age group is their need to stay connected at all times. They may develop bad habits like getting on their phone or computer late before bed.

teen woman in bed on blanets
Cotton Bro / Pexels
Cotton Bro / Pexels

Studies have shown that the bright lights from screens can delay sleep for hours past your bedtime. The bright blue lights emitted basically tell our brains that we need to stay awake instead of going to sleep. It goes against our body’s natural response to the sun and confuses the brain. Instead, we should regulate our system by having a sleep schedule and practicing a relaxing bedtime ritual like taking a hot shower or reducing lights to wind down.

Young Adults (18-25)

Young adults (18 to 25 years old) need seven to nine hours. This is the age where sleep schedules start to go downhill as we start to experience the harsh realities of the world and struggle to keep up. Organizations warn that maintaining such sleep deprivation could lead to heart disease and other health risks. Plus on a mental health level, it makes us moody and cranky and fogs our ability to think.

woman-sleeping with the lights off
Ivan Oboleninov / Pexels
Ivan Oboleninov / Pexels

Often we try to compensate by drinking caffeine or alcohol to either increase our energy or relax but both substances mess with our system and even spike our insulin levels which makes us wake up throughout the night.

Adults (26+)

Adults from 26 to 64 years need seven to nine hours while older adults from 65 years and up need seven to eight hours. Sleep needs to get more of a priority in a world where we spend a lot of time overthinking and feeling too stressed to fall asleep. We are our own worst enemies.

couple sleeping in bed cuddling
Cotton Bro / Pexels
Cotton Bro / Pexels

According to the National Sleep Foundation, we should treat our sleep schedule like a task on our to-list as well in order to cross it off every night. It turns out that people put off sleep because they worry about having to wake up to do it all over again but without sleep, we’ll never break the cycle.

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Ron Lach / Pexels
Ron Lach / Pexels

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