How much sleep you need depends on your age, as well as other individual factors. Humans tend to require more sleep when they are younger and as they mature, can go with fewer hours of shut-eye. However, no person should get less than six hours of sleep, as that is the bare minimum to function properly. Let’s take a look at the amount of sleep we need for different age groups. Here are some general sleep guidelines based on age.
Infant: 1-4 Weeks Old
Newborns need between 15 and 18 hours of sleep each day, which is the most a human will ever need. They need to sleep more than they are awake to develop properly. That being said, this sleep is not done all in one go. Instead, newborns sleep on and off in two to four hour periods. Premature babies tend to need more sleep, whereas colicky ones less. Due to the fact newborns do not have a developed circadian rhythm or biological clock, their sleep patterns do not correlate to nighttime or daytime. Instead, their pattern seems to be more sporadic.
Baby: 1-12 Months Old
After an infant reaches six weeks old, they start to settle down and develop a regular sleep pattern, needing between 14 and 15 hours of sleep per day. At this stage, their longest sleep period runs from between four to six hours and happens more regularly during night. Their day and night confusion comes to an end. After 11 months, infants get between 12 to 15 hours of sleep. During their one-year mark, establishing healthy sleeping habits is critical, as the baby is more social and his sleep patterns become more developed. At this stage, babies tend to get their sleep through two to three naps during the day and a longer sleep period during the night.
Toddler: 1-3 Years Old
Between the ages of 1 and 3, a toddler needs between 12-14 hours of sleep. Once a child hits the 18-21 months’ range, he or she no longer need to nap more than once each day. Although toddlers need as much as 14 hours of sleep each day, they tend to get around 10, as this is also an age where they become more active and energetic. Between the ages of 21 and 36 months, most toddlers still need a nap once a day, which usually varies between one to three hours long. Toddlers tend to go to bed between 7 and 9 pm and wake up between 6 am and 8 am.
Young Children: 3-6 Years Old
Children between 3 and 6 years old usually go to bed somewhere between 7 and 9 pm and wake up between 6 and 8 am, exactly as they did when they were toddlers. At 3 years old, most small children still take a nap once a day, whereas at 5 years old, the majority does not. Children’s naps also start to become shorter, and parents will not usually see any new sleep problems emerge at this stage.
Children: 7-12 Years Old
Children between the ages of 7 and 12 need between 10 and 11 hours of sleep each day. At this time, bedtime tends to get shorter, as family activities, school, and social activities become a more prominent part of their lives. Most 12-year-olds go to bed around 9 pm, but there is a broad range of bedtimes that fall between 7:30 and 10 pm.
Teenagers: 12-18 Years Old
Sleep is vital to the wellbeing and health of a teenager, just as when they were younger. Studies have found that teenagers need at least 8 to 9 hours of sleep a night. However, often teenagers experience social pressures that make it hard to get the proper amount and quality of sleep each night.
Adults: 18-65 Years Old
The majority of adults need between 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night to feel fully rested the next day. New research has found that for many adults, 7 hours is the perfect amount to feel fully rejuvenated the next day.
Elders: 65+ Years Old
Many older adults still get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep each night. However, as we age we tend to need less sleep, and so many elderly adults fully function on just 6 hours of sleep per night.