There are two kinds of people in this world: those who oversleep and those who sleep too little. Both of these habits affect us significantly, that's why it is vital to know how much do we need to sleep. Once you get it right for your age, you will see improvement not only in your health but other aspects such as productivity, energy, mood, etc. as well.
Now the question arises, how many hours a night are considered to be the perfect duration to sleep for. Unfortunately, there is not a fixed answer for this and it depends on many factors such as age, gender, lifestyle, condition (such as pregnancy) etc. Although there is a long answer to the query yet the video below is perfect to give you a quick start before dwelling deeper:
You must bear in mind that you probably won’t need the same amount of sleep as your baby brother does, or as your 70-year-old grandpa needs. So, here are some factors that determine how much sleep you need:
The amount of sleep that you need every day will change according to your age. The more you advance in age, the less sleep you will need. A newborn will sleep twice as much compared to an elder, and adults will need one or two hours extra because they have to deal with the stress of a daily work day.
Ever noticed how your baby sister seems to be sleeping through a typhoon for the entire day while your grandmother seems to be waking up early in the morning every day because she only “can’t sleep anymore”?
That is mostly because everybody is different. Babies are still developing and growing up. They need more time for their muscles to form and grow. On the other hand, elders are retired. It means that they are not as active as their younger selves would be. As a result, they need less sleep.
Sleep Chart By Age
8 hours of sleep may be enough for you. However, if during those 8 hours you’ll wake up every half an hour wondering if you even fell asleep, then we can guarantee that you will wake up feeling like you just got hit by a truck or a train.
If the quality of your sleep is poor, you may notice that even though you reached your supposedly correct number of hours, you’re still feeling tired, as if you just slept for 5 hours.
On the other hand, if the quality of your sleep was good, you may end up waking up after 6 hours feeling like a new person, fresh and ready to take the day on. Therefore, if you see that you keep waking up during the night, then add another hour or two to your sleep. Still, if you don’t feel like you need that extra hour, don’t push it; oversleeping is not good for you either.
Plus, there are many sleeping conditions that have adverse effects on your sleep – such as the very common sleep apnea. If you constantly feel like you can’t sleep well or that you are tired and have no idea why then you may want to schedule a check with the doctor. Also, make sure you are using the best pillow possible.
You don’t have to focus only on sleeping enough; you also have to concentrate on sleeping better. Remember, quality triumphs over quantity.
Although adult men and women all need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night, they still have different sleep patterns. Women usually have a lighter sleep than men do, and that sleep is easily disrupted by noise or several other factors. Since many of them have an undiagnosed sleep disorder, they require more sleep than men do.
Issues that can disrupt the sleep of a woman include major life events (for example, divorce, or the death of a close person), depression, menopause hormonal changes, pregnancy, sleep disorders, or other issues such as the restless leg syndrome.
On the other hand, men lose sleep much easier over jobs that are overstressing. Men also have the tendency of taking sleep for granted, so they stay up much longer than they should. Nowadays, even helping with their kids adds pressure to them, just like taking care of household chores and other similar tasks. I warn you, lack of sleep affects your manhood and fertility.
If these sleeping disorders continue, you may want to contact your doctor for an appointment. They may be able to shed some light and tell you why your sleeping pattern is so disrupted. Keep a sleep diary for a week, and then show it to your doctor so that he or she can get a good picture of what’s happening. Depending on your symptoms, the doctor may prescribe an appropriate treatment.
Women usually have a lighter sleep than men do, so they need an extra hour to complete their sleep cycles. Women should start with 9 hours of sleep and then gradually check if they do fine with a lower number.
You’d be surprised how much genetics can affect the amount of sleep that you need. If you have a certain genetic mutation, it will directly influence the number of sleep hours that you’ll need, your sleep pattern, and what kind of person you are if you don’t sleep enough. So yes, if you become a “monster” due to sleep deprivation, you can blame genetics for that.
Sadly, you can’t choose your genetic makeup, no matter how much you struggle against your fate. Also, there is no way of knowing whether you have a genetic mutation or not – so you’ll just have to ascertain the appropriate number of hours for yourself. Or, just experiment with your sleep.
You must split test different number of sleeping hours on two different weeks. Sleep for 6 hours one week and 8 hours the following week and notice how do you feel.
Everything we wrote above sounds very nice in theory, and it should definitely give you an idea of how much you should be getting. However, no research can pinpoint exactly how much sleep you exactly need – but it can approximate depending on some factors.
You have to pay attention to your needs and assess how do you feel after some hours have passed. Here are also some questions that you should ask yourself. It will help you to determine the right number of hours you need to sleep.
Are you healthy, productive, and happy if you only get seven hours of sleep per night? Or do you feel as if you aren’t at your peak unless you have those nine hours?
Do you have any health issues? Are you overweight, for instance? Or are you predisposed to having a disease – any disease?
Are you a coffee addict? Do you need coffee so that you can get through the day?
How do you feel when you are driving? Do you feel sleepy behind the wheels?
Do you have any sleeping disorders?
The above questions should usually pop up when calculating your sleeping pattern. Take 7 hours as a base number to start with. If most of your answers turn out to be "Yes" then add one hour to it each week. Keep adding and find where you feel most energetic while waking up. Most people won't need more than 9 hours of sleep.
We can’t all know for sure how much sleep we need to feel at our peak; that’s why we need to experiment a bit, to come up with an average. Fortunately for us, our bodies tell us when enough is enough; so, if you see the following signs, you might want to tone down the sleeping hours:
As odd as it may seem, the more you go past your sleeping cycle, the less energy you’ll have. Our bodies have their own biological clocks that know exactly how much sleep we need. Once we wake up after completing that cycle, we’ll be fresh and ready to go.
On the other hand, if you decide to sleep past that cycle, you’ll basically be entering a new one, and the other will be nulled. So even if you sleep for twelve hours straight, it will feel as if you just slept for three or four hours. Your biological clock will be therefore disturbed, and your body will end up going out of rhythm –causing you to feel tired all day.
If you go past the number of hours that you actually need, you’ll basically feel like you are sleeping the entire day away. Sure, doing this once or twice might not be such a bad thing; however, doing this every day will make you tired, lazy, and feel as if your whole life is wasting away. And that feeling leads most of the time to depression.
Those who have problems with depression will sleep for more than nine hours a day – so if you feel your mood acting up, it might be because you need to tone down your sleeping and cut a few hours from it.
This goes by the same principle that we talked above: that 8-hour cycle is a period during which our brain is supposed to recharge. However, once you go over that cycle, your body goes past the point of regrouping. You’ll end up tossing and turning, and it will be fairly difficult for you to turn short-term memory into a long-term one.
Ever woke up with a headache and told yourself you’re going to “sleep one more hour for a headache to pass”? Well, here’s some news flash: that’s just going to make things worse.
By getting more sleep than you need, you are going to disrupt your brain’s neurotransmitters, and your serotonin levels will be messed up. As a result, you will end up feeling headaches and migraines the entire day.
If you feel like this is a morning pattern for you, then you might want to rethink your sleeping schedule. One or two hours off the cycle may be exactly what you’ll need to reach the appropriate sleeping hours.
If you are sleeping more than you need, you’ll notice that the scale isn’t very friendly with you either. This might be pretty obvious, but we burn more calories when we are awake than when we are sleeping – and our body is trying to make us aware of the fact that those “5 more minutes snooze” is really unnecessary.
If you notice that the pounds keep adding up, you may want to consider sleeping less. If you used to sleep 8 hours every night, try going for 7 hours – and maintain this schedule for a week. If you see that you are feeling better and your weight is constant, then this is the right program.
There aren’t two people in this world who have the same biological clock. Sure, there are factors that determine the average number of sleep hours – you can’t ask a 2-year-old to sleep for 8 hours only; they’d end up sleeping too little.
The variables usually go between one or two hours and can be affected by many things: age, genetics, habits, or gender. Most of the time, you will have to experiment with finding a schedule.
Once you come across one that doesn’t leave you tired, grumpy, forgetful, and with headaches all day, then that’s exactly how much sleep you actually need.
I am a big advocate that having great sleep is something everyone deserves. With over 10 years of experience in this field, I would love to use this platform as a means to help you achieve a good night's sleep.