YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger
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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.
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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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.