Question

Healthy Sleeping

How much sleep do I need?

A Answers (18)

  • AMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    Getting a good night's sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your body. While getting 8 hours of solid sleep is the age-old fabled goal, our needs seem to be a little less than that. Getting 7.4 hours of sleep a night for men and 7 hours of sleep a night for women can make a profound difference on your brain and your heart and have a RealAge effect of making you up to three years younger.
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  • AStacy Wiegman, PharmD, Pharmacy, answered
    The amount of sleep one needs changes as we grow and age, and may depend on your health and overall condition. Typically, adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep. School-aged children need at least 9 hours, while preschool children need 10 to 12 hours of sleep. Newborn children must get at least 16 hours of sleep a day.
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  • The average adult needs about seven and a half to eight hours of sleep. But that’s measured on a bell curve, with some needing more and the rare few being able to get by with less. Sleep affects both the quantity and quality of life. The American Cancer Society surveyed over a million America and found that people who usually slept more than eight hours or less than six had a fifteen percent higher death rate than six-and-a-half to seven-and-a-half hour a night snoozers. A rule of thumb is to sleep until your body naturally wakes you up.
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  • AHealthyWomen answered
    Healthy sleep can be defined as the amount and quality of sleep that allow one to maintain optimal alertness while awake. Most adults need about eight hours of sleep each night, although sleep requirements vary somewhat among individuals. Children and adolescents typically need more than eight hours of sleep, but after age four, most children require little-to-no daytime sleep.
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  • AUCLA Health answered
    What is considered sufficient sleep for each person depends on factors including basal sleep need (the amount of sleep the body routinely needs to perform well) and sleep debt (the accumulated sleep lost to poor sleep habits, awakening during the night and other causes). The timing of a person’s sleep is also important. Shifting the bedtime by more than two hours each night may disrupt the circadian rhythm, or “internal body clock,” and cause difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, waking up on time and feeling restored by sleep.

    Generally, people require the following amount of sleep:

    Newborns (1-2 months): 10.5-18 hours
    Infants (3-11 months): 9-12 hours during night and 30-minute to 2-hour naps, one to four times a day
    Toddlers (1-3 years): 12-14 hours
    Preschoolers (3-5 years): 11-13 hours
    School-aged children (5-12 years): 10-11 hours
    Teens (11-17 years): 8.25-9.25 hours
    Adults: 7-9 hours
  • Despite how hard we try to convince ourselves otherwise, adults really do need about eight hours of sleep, experts say. Experts have found that, beyond leaving people bleary-eyed, failing to get enough sleep can heighten the risk for cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and depression. Even minimal sleep loss takes a toll on motor reflexes, concentration, creativity, energy and ability to handle stress.

    While not everyone needs the same amount of sleep, studies have shown that adults generally need between seven and eight hours to awaken spontaneously, feeling refreshed. Children and teens need even more, as much as 13 hours for preschoolers and nine hours for teens.

    Consistently sleeping less than your body needs creates a “sleep debt” that can be difficult to repay. Sleep consists of a series of distinct cycles and stages that restore and refresh your body and mind. It is as necessary to our bodies as food, water and oxygen.

  • ASheri Van Dijk, Psychiatry, answered
    Here are some guidelines to help you determine what your sleep number is:

    Start keeping a journal in which you record the number of hours you slept, and what you were like the next day. Did you notice you felt relatively good? Were you rested, or did you still feel tired? Did you notice an increase in your irritability? How was your concentration? Keep track of this for about two weeks, at which time you should be able to see any patterns. For example, you might notice that when you get eight hours of sleep, you typically feel okay, but if you get more or less than that, your mood isn't as good and you're more irritable.

    If you don't feel rested with the current amount of sleep you're getting, you'll want to try adjusting this amount to see if you can improve how you feel. Since the average sleep requirement is about eight hours, it will be helpful for you to work your way toward eight hours. This means that, if you're currently sleeping ten hours each night (and waking unrefreshed or feeling irritable), then you'll want to work on decreasing your sleep to eight hours. And, yes, this will likely mean you'll have to set an alarm! Reduce your sleep slowly -- by about fifteen minutes every couple of days -- and see how you feel at each sleep number (continue recording this in your journal). Similarly, if you're generally sleeping less than eight hours (and feeling fatigued or irritable during the day), you'll need to increase your sleep by going to bed earlier or getting up later, in the same way, by about fifteen minutes every couple of days.

    When you get to a sleep number where you feel more rested and your mood is better, you'll have found your sleep number. Keep in mind that if you have problems finding it, there could be some health problems getting in the way, such as depression or sleep apnea, and you should consult your doctor.
  • AMosaraf Ali, MD, Integrative Medicine, answered
    There is no hard-and-fast rule about how much sleep we need, and each individual is different; many elderly people find they need less sleep than they did when they were younger, perhaps because they are expending less energy. But less than four hours of sleep a night on a regular basis is not conducive to good health, and most people function best if they get six or seven hours of refreshing sleep at least three or four nights a week.

    If you are ill, then long hours of sleep are a great part of the healing process, and teenagers benefit from more sleep than average (growing and the demands of studying and exams take their toll, as well as the inevitable late nights). But otherwise, feeling you need, say, 10 hours or more of sleep a night may indicate a problem such as depression or chronic fatigue.

    Sleep doesn’t necessarily have to be taken all at one go. A half-hour siesta after lunch is very energizing, and if you are breastfeeding or looking after young children, you should take every chance you can to give yourself some restorative sleep.

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  • ARonald Tamler, MD, Endocrinology/diabetes/metabolism, answered on behalf of The Mount Sinai Health System
    You should sleep from seven to nine hours a night. Insufficient sleep increases the risk of developing diabetes, while sleep duration and quality have emerged as predictors of levels of Hemoglobin A1c, an important marker of blood sugar control. Less than six hours sleep a night raises the chances of colon cancer by 50 percent.
  • AAshley Koff, RD, Nutrition & Dietetics, answered
    It's a myth that there's a magic number of hours the body requires to sleep. Everyone has a different sleep need. The eight-hour-rule is general, but not necessarily the ideal number for you. Most people need seven to nine hours, and chances are you know what your number is. If you feel like a drag after a six-hour night, then clearly you need to aim for more sleep. Think of the last time you went on vacation and slept like a baby for more hours a night than usual. That is probably your perfect number.
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  • AKathleen Hall, Preventive Medicine, answered
    Every system in your body is refreshed and restored each time you sleep. Healing occurs during our sleep cycles, so when you are ill or run down, honor your body's needs for more sleep. Listen to your body. Your body will tell you how much sleep you need. Practice awareness and respect the messages your body sends you. Don't try to force it into an artificial pattern that causes you to be chronically overtired. We have a seriously damaging cultural myth that people who sleep fewer hours are more productive and in some way more "successful," when in fact the opposite is really true. Well-rested people are more focused and efficient than the sleep-deprived.
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  • AMichael Breus, PhD, Psychology, answered
    The answer really depends on the individual, but there are some basic guidelines. While the sleep community says that between 7-9 hours of sleep is best, the data shows that there are many people who sleep well and wake refreshed after only about 6.5 hours or 7 hours. There is also data that shows that people who sleep more than 10 hours and less than 5 hours per night have a higher mortality rate. 

    The thing to remember here is that it is not just about the quantity of sleep, but also the quality of the sleep you are getting. Sleep seems to come in waves of 80-120 minute cycles, and the average person needs 4-5 cycles to wake feeling refreshed. If your sleep cycle averages 90 minutes and go through 5 sleep cycles in one night, you will need about 7.5 hours of sleep.  If your cycle is shorter you may require fewer hours of sleep.
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  • ACarol Ash, DO, Internal Medicine, answered
    2 071 quiz 01 carol ash
    Getting enough sleep is a basic need of the body. In this video, Dr. Oz and Dr. Carol Ash discuss what can happen to the body if it doesn't get enough sleep.

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  • While most adults need between 7 and 8 hours of sleep, some need as few as 6 and some as many as 9 hours of sleep each night. The general rule is that the amount of sleep a person needs is the amount that allows him/her to feel fully refreshed and alert all day long. The amount and kind of sleep a person gets changes with age. With age, some people start having trouble staying asleep, which can lead to a more interrupted night's sleep.

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  • ADiscovery Health answered

    Most adult people need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. This is an average, and is also subjective. You probably know how much sleep you will need in any average night to feel your best.

    The amount of sleep you need does decrease with age. A newborn baby might sleep for 20 hours a day. By age four, that average becomes about 12 hours a day. By age 10, average sleep falls to 10 hours a day. Senior citizens often get by with six or seven hours of sleep a day.

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  • While sleep requirements vary slightly from person to person, most healthy adults need between seven and a half to nine hours of sleep per night to function at their best. Children and teens need even more. And despite the notion that our sleep needs decrease with age, older people still need at least seven and a half to eight hours of sleep. Since older adults often have trouble sleeping this long at night, daytime naps can help fill in the gap. The best way to figure out if you're meeting your sleep needs is to evaluate how you feel as you go about your day. If you're logging enough hours, you'll feel energetic and alert all day long, from the moment you wake up until your regular bedtime.
  • ARealAge answered

    Everyone has a different sleep need. The eight hour rule is general, and not necessarily for those who can feel and actually be fully refreshed on fewer hours; those who don’t physically need at least seven or eight hours are known as short sleepers, but they are not the majority of the population. You could be fooling yourself to think you can get by on just four hours a night, especially in the long term. Sleep is not a luxury.

    From The Mind-Beauty Connection: 9 Days to Less Stress, Gorgeous Skin, and a Whole New You by Amy Wechsler.

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  • ADawn Marcus, Neurology, answered
    Sleep needs change over a lifetime. You often hear people say that the older you get, the less sleep you need. That's only true when you're a child. Once you become an adult, you continue to need 7-8 hours of sleep each night -- even as you grow older.
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