A lot of people don’t know how to sleep properly, why to sleep, and sadly, how many hours of sleep their bodies really need. The body and mind work throughout the day and deserves a very good number of quality sleep by night. Before we talk no how much sleep the body really needs, let us define what sleep really is.
What is Sleep?
Sleep is a condition of body and mind which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended.
Sleep is more than just a time for your body and mind to rest. In fact, while you’re asleep, your body is hard at work.
It even goes beyond the night; you can sleep at any time of the day depending on your free time. However, when life gets busy, it’s often the first thing we neglect or sacrifice.
This is unfortunate because good sleep is just as vital to good health as eating healthy foods or getting enough exercise.
How Many Hours of Sleep You Need
Every individual has unique needs and preferences, and the answer to how much sleep you need is no different.
Nevertheless, the amount of sleep you need per night is largely determined by your age.
Official recommendations for sleep duration are broken down by age group:
- Older adults (65+): 7–8 hours
- Adults (18–64 years): 7–9 hours
- Teenagers (14–17 years): 8–10 hours
- School children (6–13 years): 9–11 hours
- Preschoolers (3–5 years): 10–13 hours
- Toddlers (1–2 years): 11–14 hours
- Infants (4–11 months): 12–15 hours
- Newborns (0–3 months): 14–17 hours
However, some people might need more or less sleep than is generally recommended, depending on the following factors.
Factors that Determine How Much Sleep You Need
- Genetic Makeup
Genetics is another determinant of how many hours of sleep you need per night.
Certain genetic mutations can affect how long you need to sleep, at what time of day you prefer to sleep, and how you respond to sleep deprivation.
For example, those with one specific genetic mutation get by fine on around six hours, whereas people without it really need about eight hours, on average.
And people carrying certain other genetic mutations are more negatively affected by sleep deprivation or experience deeper sleep.
Unfortunately, your genetic makeup is not something you can change, and there’s no practical way to know if you carry one of these mutations.
Therefore, it’s important to simply pay attention to how you feel to determine if you’re getting the right amount of sleep.
- Sleep Quality
The quality of your sleep can also impact how much you need.
If your sleep quality is poor, you may find that you still feel tired after getting what should be considered enough.
Conversely, if you are getting good quality sleep, you may be able to manage better with a little less.
Many studies have found that short sleep duration, as well as poor sleep quality, are responsible for many negative sleep-related effects.
Therefore, it’s not only important to focus on sleeping long enough, but also on sleeping well enough.
Additionally, many common sleep disorders can have negative effects on your sleep quality. If you regularly feel like you aren’t sleeping well or are extremely tired and don’t know why it’s a good idea to check in with your doctor.