How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?

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 and take you through the recommended hours of sleep by age group.

How much sleep do you need by age?

Sleep is your natural body repair system, with younger sleepers needing more time to recuperate, and more time to for the speedy development of their brains and bodies. It may sometimes be difficult to know when your kids aren’t getting enough sleep as sleep deprived children don’t necessarily wind down in the same way that adults to – in fact, they may even wind up! So, it’s important to have an idea of how much sleep children need for healthy growth and development.

So, what is the recommended amount of sleep for your little ones?

How much sleep do babies need?

Are you a new parent? You may be concerned about the amount of sleep your newborn is getting, and this is likely to change before your little one gets into a routine. And let’s face it. It can be hard to keep track of how much sleep babies get as they’re likely to sleep for 1-3 hours at a time, waking up for regular feeds.

Here’s an approximate breakdown of the amount of sleep babies need by age:
Age Daytime Naps Night-Time Sleep
Newborn 3 naps (7-8 hours) 8-9 hours
1 month 3 naps (6-7 hours) 8-9 hours
3 months 3 naps (4-5 hours) 10-11 hours
6 months 3 naps (3 hours) 11 hours
9 months 2 naps (2-3 hours) 11 hours
12 months 2 naps (2-3 hours) 11 hours

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.

How much sleep does a toddler need?

1-5 years
The recommended amount of sleep for a one year old is 12-15 hours’ sleep, while toddlers between the ages of one and two are recommended 11-14 hours. The recommended amount of sleep for a 3 year old is between 10-13 hours of sleep a night. Though these are the optimum recommendations for children at this age, every child is different. You may find that your little ones need a little less or a little extra shuteye than the recommended time periods, but if you do have any concerns, contact your physician for more advice.

How much sleep do kids need?

6-17 years
Surprisingly, the recommended amount of sleep for children in school 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 age 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.

How much sleep should an adult get?

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.

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