Ideal Amount of Sleep

Ideal Amount of Sleep – 7 or 9 hours?

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Sleep is a naturally recurring state of rest that your mind and body require, but how much sleep is needed to reach an optimum stage of well-being? When life gets busy, sleep is often the first thing to get sacrificed.

The right amount of sleep depends on a lot of factors especially age and lifestyle.  To determine how much sleep you need, it is important that you access aspects of life like your work schedule and stress level. Researchers at the National Sleep Foundation can’t provide an exact number of hours that an individual needs to sleep but they’ve prepared a chart that gives you a  range of hours that people of different age groups need to maintain a healthy life.

NSF’s recently revised their guidelines and their recommendations of new sleep times are:

People Age Group Recommended hours of sleep each day
Newborns 0 – 3 months 14 – 17 hours
Infants 4 – 11 months 12 – 15 hours
Toddlers1 1 – 2 years 11 – 14 hours
Preschoolers 3 – 5 years 10 – 13 hours
School-age children 6 – 13 years 9 – 11 hours
Teenagers 14 – 17 years 8 – 10 hours
Younger adults 18 – 25 years 7 – 9 hours
Adults 26 – 64 years 7 – 9 hours
Older adults 65+ years 8 hours

You can read their entire article over here.

Sleeping baby
The main factors that affect how much sleep you need include:
  • Your age.
  • Your health.
  • How physically and mentally active you are.
  • Your diet and other lifestyle choices.
  • Your genetics.

To determine the correct amount of sleep that you personally need, try figuring out the answers to the following questions:

  1. How much sleep do you need to get by?
  2. How much sleep do you need to function optimally and be happiest?

The answer to these two questions could be quite different. For example, 6 hours of sleep might be enough for you to get by, but you might not be able to function at your optimum capacity. It might turn you into a coffee fiend or make you look forward to going back to bed from the minute you wake up. Such a routine would generally make you unhappy in life.

On the other hand, too much sleep requirement could be associated with being overweight, having diabetes and heart problems.

All of the above components determine the quantity of sleep you receive, however, the quality of your sleep also play an important role.  If you’re a light sleeper, it is possible that you have a poor quality of sleep and might feel tired even after sleeping 7-9 hours. On the other hand, you can make do with lesser than 7 hours of sleep if the quality is good.

To sum it all up

The amount of sleep varies from person to person and changes on a daily basis for each and every person. Paying attention to how you feel in the day can help you determine if you’re getting the right amount of sleep.  

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