How much sleep do you really need? And what are the effects of sleep deprivation? The answers depend on a number of factors, but are primarily dictated by age. We take a look at some of the key stats below.

What is the ideal recommended amount of sleep?

Sleep is your natural body repair system, with younger sleepers needing more time to recuperate. So, what is the recommended amount of sleep for you and your little ones?

0-5 years
Infants and very young children need the most sleep. Average sleep recommendations for newborns up to the age of three months old is between 14-17 hours per day. This amount of sleep helps the body to naturally grow and repair, as well as resting the heart and lowering blood pressure, which aids in regulating the body.

Infants from four months to one year old need 12-15 hours’ sleep, while toddlers between the ages of one and two are recommended 11-14 hours. From the age of three, children are recommended between 10-13 hours of sleep a night. Though these are the optimum recommendations for children at this age, every child is different.

6-17 years
Surprisingly, the recommended amount of sleep for school children from the age of six all the way through to the early teenage years doesn’t differ all that much. 9-11 hours is the optimum recommendation for those aged 6-13, while teenagers from 14-17 can function efficiently on anything from 8-10 hours. Although recommendations can be made based on age, they are exactly that.

As every parent of a teenager knows, getting them to stick to a proper sleep routine can be a challenge! The amount of time your teen spends using electronic devices such as smartphones and games consoles, as well as the amount of caffeinated drinks they consume, all affect their natural sleep cycle. Habits established at this age can go on to affect their sleeping routine long term, so encouraging good sleep hygiene is important.

As soon as we reach adulthood, the average sleep recommendation drops to 7-9 hours, but so too does our ability to stick to that recommendation, or even aim for it. From our survey of more than 1,200 adults across the UK, we found that while 34% aimed to get 8-10 hours of sleep each night, just 17% achieved this amount of shut-eye. Two-thirds (66%) of the population manage to get 5-7 hours of sleep per night, only just reaching the threshold of recommended hours. 16% get just 2-4 hours – in other words, one in six UK adults gets around half the recommended amount of sleep they need.

What if I don’t get my recommended amount of sleep?

With our busy lifestyles, it’s easy to think that there are more important things to do than sleep. So what exactly are the effects of sleep deprivation on your mind and body? Some of the more common problems include:

• Prolonged tiredness
• Micro sleep (falling asleep for short periods during the day)
• High blood pressure • Weakened immune system
• Short-term memory problems All these can affect your productivity at work as well as your ability to enjoy hobbies and social activities.

If you suffer from sleeping problems and struggle to get the recommended amount of sleep you need, why not read our top tips on how to get to sleep faster. Are you getting your recommended amount of sleep? How do you compare with the rest of the UK? Let us know in the comments.