Not getting enough sleep or getting too much sleep are just as unhealthy as each other, and can lead to different consequences from dizziness to weight gain and much worse.
So, how much sleep do we need?
This is no straight forward answer to this question.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the amount of sleep required by an individual is highly variable and some people need more sleep than others.
The fact of the matter is that there is no magic bullet for determining how much sleep you should be getting every night. It all depends on whatever is natural for you as an individual including your age, sex, health and other elements. It is also important to keep in mind that sleep cycles change as we grow older.
Furthermore, it is really important not to dwell too much on how long we sleep, but focus on the sleep quality instead. On average, most adults appear to require around 7-8 hours’ sleep every night even though this varies from one individual to another.
As we grow older, our sleep cycles change, and as we progress through our various life stages, we tend to experience disrupted sleep patterns as we become more advanced in years.
In 2015, a national panel of sleep experts released new recommendations for more hours of sleep for most young people.
In order to generate these new recommendations, the foundation brought together a panel of 18 scientists and researchers from various medical associations in the United States and asked them to review over 300 studies on how much sleep would be ideal. The panel then took a vote on how much sleep would be appropriate at the different ages.
The new hour ranges for each age group recommend more hours for infants, kids and teens:
- Newborns (0-3 months ): Sleep range narrowed to 14-17 hours each day (previously it was 12-18)
- Infants (4-11 months): Sleep range widened two hours to 12-15 hours (previously it was 14-15)
- Toddlers (1-2 years): Sleep range widened by one hour to 11-14 hours (previously it was 12-14)
- Preschoolers (3-5): Sleep range widened by one hour to 10-13 hours (previously it was 11-13)
- School age children (6-13): Sleep range widened by one hour to 9-11 hours (previously it was 10-11)
- Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range widened by one hour to 8-10 hours (previously it was 8.5-9.5)
- Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category)
- Adults (26-64): Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours
- Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours (new age category)