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How Much Sleep Do We Actually Need?

Getting a good night’s sleep is important for our health and ability to function in day to day life. Without the right amount of sleep, we can suffer from a range of side effects ranging from something as simple as low motivation, to more severe sleep deprivation. However, sleep isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. Different age ranges need different amounts of sleep, and some people may even need different amounts compared to people of the same age. However, there is plenty of base guidance that we can follow – we’ve gathered some together for you, below.

Why Do We Need Sleep?

Sleep is a vital and unavoidable part of our lives, to the point where it’s predicted that we spend around a third of our lives asleep. When we sleep, not only do our bodies get a chance to recoup and rest, but our brains remain hard at work helping us to restore and recoup ready for a new day. In fact, the amount and quality of sleep we get play a significant part in our physical and mental health. It can affect how you feel during the day, how productive you are and how easily you might take on the demands of the day. Even one night of disturbed or not enough sleep can have adverse effects on your energy levels, focus, mood and stress management, while longer-term sleep problems can lead to deprivation which may trigger mental or physical health issues.

How Many Hours Should You Get?

The amount of sleep you should be getting really can vary on a case by case basis, however studies have given general suggested figures per age group to guide you in what you should be aiming for, for you or for your family: 

AgeHours Needed
Newborn to 4 months old14-17 hours (11-19 in some cases)
4 months to 1 year old12-15 hours (10-18 in some cases)
1 year to 2 years old11-14 hours (9-16 in some cases)
3 to 5 years old10-13 hours (8-14 in some cases)
6 to 13 years old9-11 hours (7-12 in some cases)
14 to 17 years old8-10 hours (7-11 in some cases)
18 to 25 years old7-9 hours (6-11 in some cases)
16 to 64 years old7-9 hours (6-10 in some cases)
65+ years old7-8 hours (5-9 in some cases)

Are You Getting Enough?

If you’re unsure whether you’re getting enough sleep for your body, there are a few signs of sleep deprivation to keep an eye out for. In almost all cases, there are a number of things you can do to improve your sleep and the length of time you spend asleep each night if you find yourself suffering from any of the following: 

  • Felling mentally foggy
  • Reduced attention span 
  • Memory issues or recall problems
  • Increasingly risky decision making
  • Lack of energy
  • Falling asleep quickly when sitting down
  • Irritability
  • Increased stress
  • Increased anxiety 
  • Struggling to get out of bed in the mornings or relying on snooze button.

These symptoms can vary in severity depending on the level of sleep deprivation you have. One night with disturbed or reduced sleep likely won’t cause serious problems beyond mood changes or sleepiness, but it’s important to see your GP if you’re finding that you can’t sleep most nights.

What You Can Do To Improve Your Sleep

There are a number of things you can do both at home, and with the help of a medical professional to improve your sleep. These include: 

  • Have a consistent sleep schedule – Even if you aren’t tired, go to bed at the same time every night. Your body should fall into a routine.
  • Set work-life boundaries – It can be difficult to truly switch off from our jobs when we get home at the end of a day, but having that separation is crucial for being able to unwind and sleep soundly at the end of the day. 
  • Get Creative With Your Bedroom – having a calm, tidy and relaxing bedroom environment could help you sleep better at night. You should be replacing your mattress every 7-8 years or whenever it begins to stop offering the support it should, and a new bed frame could also help to improve the lifespan of the mattress itself and the comfort you experience at night. 
  • Avoid Things That Interfere With Sleep – This can include anything from alcohol and caffeine to taking a nap during the day. If you’re sleep-deprived, taking a nap can feel like a must-have, but sometimes this can actually make it harder to sleep throughout the night. You should also avoid using electronic devices like TVs, mobiles, tablets and computers too close to bedtime, as these can stimulate your mind and keep you awake.

For more information about your sleep schedule or how a new bed could help you sleep better at night, get in touch with a member of our team, today.