Sleep is an essential part of our lives and on average we sleep 1/3 of our lives. But how many hours of sleep do we each need?
DISCOVER YOUR OWN SLEEP NEEDS
Some people sleep very little, some sleep a lot and some sleep too much. The secret is to find the sleep time you need to feel relaxed. If you wake up before the alarm goes off, then you are probably getting enough sleep. Another fact that indicates that you have slept well is if you feel that you are working well during the day. However, if you feel tired during the day, then you may need to review the time you sleep.
Many people live their lives according to the theory that 7-8 hours of sleep is ideal. This is true for most adults, but there are always exceptions. Some people by nature need more sleep. Danish sleep specialist Søren Berg calls these people “long sleepers”. On the other hand, he calls those who are satisfied with a few hours of sleep “short sleepers”.
AGE AND HEALTH AFFECT SLEEPING NEEDS
The amount of sleep you need depends to a large extent on your age and state of health. Children and adolescents need many hours of sleep as their musculoskeletal system develops while they sleep. Elderly and young children also need to sleep during the day to meet their sleep needs.
Researchers at the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) have studied the sleep needs of people at different ages. In the table below, you can see the recommended sleeping hours per age group.
Min. hours Max. hours
0-3 months 11 19
4-11 months 10 18
1-2 years 11 14
3-5 years 8 14
6-13 years old 7 12
14-17 years old 7 11
18-25 years 6 11
26-64 years 6 10
65+ years old 5 9
HOW DOES HEALTH AFFECT YOUR SLEEP?
Health also affects how much sleep our body needs to rest and rebuild its cells. If you have been sick or suffering from a chronic condition for some time, it is certain that you will need more time than usual, as your body “works” to restore its functions and repair cells. Also, medication can cause a feeling of tiredness, resulting in the need for more sleep than usual.
DO THE SEASONS AFFECT OUR SLEEP?
Seasons are just as important in terms of the amount of sleep we need. In winter, when the hours of natural light are reduced, the brain produces larger amounts of the sleep hormone, melatonin. We produce melatonin when it is dark and it is the substance that makes us feel tired. For this reason, sleep experts recommend avoiding watching TV or focusing on other electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime, as this prevents
melatonin production, and thus it becomes more difficult to sleep. Because our sleep is easily affected by light and darkness, there are people who sleep from half to an hour more in winter than usual.
CAN YOU SLEEP TOO MUCH?
Most people wake up on their own as soon as they feel rested. You should not sleep more, as this can make you feel tired and lethargic during the day. However, people who are accustomed to sleeping a lot do not have to feel tired.
You can try to get more sleep to make up for lost sleep, but only for a short time, such as after a hard week. However, provided you are healthy. Many months of sleep deprivation can not be replaced, as this can lead to health problems.
Sleeping more than you need to can be a bad habit. That’s why it’s good to know how much sleep you need and why you sometimes need more time than usual. If you are concerned about your sleep patterns, please consult a sleep specialist.
Read more sleep tips.
CHECK YOUR SLEEP INDEX
Are you curious about your sleep? Take the Sleep Test and find your own sleep score compared to other people like you.