Sleep is one of the most vital pillars of health, playing a pivotal role in physical, cognitive, and emotional well-being. Getting adequate high-quality sleep is key for everyone, right from infancy through adulthood. However, the optimal sleep duration varies across different age groups.
In this blog, we will discuss the significance of quality sleep and the recommended sleep hours for each age category as advised by sleep experts and researchers.
Why Is Sleep So Important?
Sleep allows the body and mind to recharge and rejuvenate. During sleep, important restorative functions occur, facilitating growth, learning, memory consolidation, and overall optimal performance. Sleep deprivation negatively impacts almost all systems in the body.
Some of the key benefits of adequate sleep include:
- Cellular repair, tissue growth, and maintenance of healthy hormone levels
- Improved immunity and ability to fight infections
- Emotional regulation and management of stress and anxiety
- Enhanced learning, focus, productivity, and performance
- Better athletic performance and physical coordination
- Reduced risk of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease
Clearly, sleep is essential at every stage of life for optimal well-being. But exactly how many hours of sleep does each age group need? Let’s find out.
Recommended Sleep Duration by Age
Newborns (0-3 months)
- 14-17 hours per day
- Includes naps and nighttime sleep
- Crucial for development and growth
Infants (4-11 months)
- 12-15 hours per day
- Daytime naps decrease gradually
- Night sleep consolidates
Toddlers (1-2 years)
- 11-14 hours per day
- Dropping to one daytime nap
- Night sleep around 9-10 hours
Preschoolers (3-5 years)
- 10-13 hours per day
- One regular daytime nap
- Night sleep of 10-11 hours
School-age children (6-12 years)
- 9-12 hours per day
- Night sleep of 9-11 hours
- Daytime naps may occur occasionally
Teenagers (13-17 years)
- 8-10 hours per day
- Night sleep around 8-9 hours
- Naps not typical in this age group
Adults (18-64 years)
- 7-9 hours per day
- Consolidated nighttime sleep
- Naps not commonly needed
Older Adults (65+ years)
- 7-8 hours per night
- Naps may help supplement nighttime sleep
- Sleep patterns and duration can vary
While these age-specific recommendations provide a helpful guideline, individual sleep needs can vary slightly. The key is to pay attention to signs of sleep deprivation and aim for an optimal amount of sleep that makes you feel rested and energetic throughout the day.
Tips for Better Sleep
Here are some tips to support healthy sleep duration and quality in each age group:
- Maintain a fixed bedtime and wake-up schedule, even on weekends
- Limit screen time before bed and remove electronic devices from bedrooms
- Ensure the sleep environment is cool, quiet and comfortable
- Avoid caffeine, large meals and strenuous exercise close to bedtime
- Relax the mind through reading, meditation or light music before bed
- See a sleep specialist if having persistent difficulties sleeping
Sleep needs and patterns evolve throughout the different stages of life. Prioritizing sufficient high-quality sleep as per age-specific recommendations can go a long way in supporting overall health, wellness and functioning across the lifespan. Consult a healthcare provider if you have any concerns regarding your sleep. With some basic lifestyle adjustments, everyone can work towards their optimum sleep requirement for rejuvenation.