How much sleep do you really need? Here’s what science says

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We all know getting quality sleep is crucial for the health of your body—but a lack of sleep, or irregular sleep schedule, can harm your mental health and make it impossible to focus on tasks during the day. Sleep can affect everything from your energy levels to your memory and can even increase anxiety and stress.


The thing is, there’s no one-size-fits-all recommendation for how many Z’s you should be catching on any given night. In fact, the amount of sleep you should be getting really depends on your age—and other factors like gender and lifestyle play a role too.


To make it easy for you, we’re breaking down exactly how much sleep you need according to your age and sharing tips on how you can make sleep a priority going forward.


How much sleep do you need?

In general, the average adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


How, exactly, was that number established? It turns out sleep has been one of the most researched subjects by scientists over the last century—so there’s plenty of information available to back up this stat.


When scientists study the amount of sleep people need by age, they took a few factors into consideration. Usually, they look at the memory and cognitive functions of the people they’re studying, based on the number of hours they spend asleep.


For newborns, toddlers, and children, scientists also study their health as it relates to how well they’re growing for their age group. Based on the results, researchers have been able to determine a recommended set number of hours to sleep per age group.


Sleep recommendations by age

Check out this table for a quick breakdown of how many hours of sleep you should be working towards, depending on your age.

Age Group Age Range Recommended Amount of Sleep
Newborns 0-3 months old 14-17 hours of sleep
Infants 4-11 months old 12-15 hours of sleep
Toddlers 1-2 years old 11-14 hours of sleep
Pre-schoolers 3-5 years old 10-13 hours of sleep
School-aged kids 6-13 years old 9-11 hours of sleep
Teenagers 14-17 years old 8-10 hours of sleep
Young adults 18-25 years old 7-9 hours of sleep
Adults 26-64 years old 7-9 hours of sleep
Older adults 65+ years old 7-8 hours of sleep


Is 5 hours of sleep enough?

In short, no. Experts recommend at least seven hours for your body and mind to function at their best.


2018 study published in the journal Sleep found that “cognitive performance, measured using a set of 12 well-established tests, is impaired in people who reported typically sleeping less, or more, than seven to eight hours per night.” Even scarier, “a self-reported typical sleep duration of four hours per night was equivalent to aging eight years,” according to the study.


It’s imperative to your health to try to get at least seven hours of sleep each night; not doing so can have drastic effects on your health in the long run.

Is it better to get 6 or 8 hours of sleep?

It’s definitely better to get at least seven hours of sleep per night. Any amount of sleep less than seven hours can have long-lasting impacts on your health. Continued lack of sleep may have a direct impact on your heart health, mental health, and more.

How much sleep do you need by age?

Here’s a look at how much sleep you should be getting, depending on how old you are:

  • Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours
  • Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours
  • Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours
  • Pre-schoolers (3-5 years): 10-13 hours
  • School-aged kids (6-13 years): 9-11 hours
  • Teens (14-17 years): 8-10 hours
  • Young adults (18-25 years): 7-9 hours
  • Adults (26-64 years): 7-9 hours
  • Older adults (65+ years): 7-8 hours

Following an all-nighter, how much sleep should you get?

All-nighters are extremely disorienting, and you’ll probably feel the negative effects of pulling one immediately. If you want to get back on your sleep schedule after staying up all night, the best way to do so is to aim to resume your regular sleep schedule right away.


If you’re feeling extremely exhausted, you can try taking a quick nap that’s no longer than 30 minutes. This will help give you enough energy to get through the day and make it to nighttime. Then, resume your regular bedtime schedule at night.

What proportion of your sleep should be deep sleep?

Deep sleep, also known as “slow-wave sleep,” is the most restorative stage of sleep and should account for about 75% of the time you spend sleeping at night. Unlike rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, deep sleep slows down your heart rate, breathing, and eye movement.


Deep sleep is when your body repairs itself. If you feel like you’re constantly waking up throughout the night, try tiring yourself out more during the day and then creating a wind-down routine to teach your body it’s time for bed.

How to make sleep a priority

Just because you know how important it is to catch quality Z’s doesn’t mean getting the sleep you need will always come easily. To help improve your sleep habits so you can reach that magic number of seven to nine hours per night, try these expert-proven tips.

Stick to a regular sleep schedule, even on the weekends

We know it can be tempting to sleep until 11 on the weekends if you stayed out late the night before—but it’s not worth the toll it’ll take on your sleep schedule for the week. If you have an existing sleep schedule and wind-down routine set in place, it’ll be easier to stay on track without having to overthink it at times when it feels hardest to do so.

Add relaxing activities to your nighttime routine

One of the most effective ways to get quality sleep is to create a relaxing bedtime routine and stick with it. A few easy ways to unwind before bed include practicing deep breathing, stretching out your body, and creating a to-do list for the next day to ease anxious thoughts.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol too close to bedtime

Although alcohol may help you drift off to sleep faster, the quality of the sleep you receive will be severely diminished. Coffee could also be the secret culprit ruining your sleep at night. Experts recommend avoiding it after 2 p.m.

Set your bedroom to the right temperature

Experts agree 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit is the optimal temperature range for quality sleep at night. Your body heat rises at night, and if your bedroom is set to a temperature that’s too warm, you may wake up or stir throughout the night. So lower the temperature in your bedroom for more comfortable sleep.

Stay off your phone before bed

This rule is perhaps the most difficult to abide by, but it’s one of the most important things to master. Staring at blue light before you go to bed will confuse your body’s natural circadian rhythm so that it doesn’t know it’s to wind down. Your best bet is to shut your phone off at least 30 minutes before you go to bed.

Upgrade your mattress and bedding

Your mattress and bedding can go a long way toward improving your sleep. If you’re sleeping on a mattress that isn’t comfortable, chances are you won’t get quality sleep. Saatva has a range of high-quality mattresses and bedding to suit your sleep style. Take our mattress quiz to find out what’s best for your sleep needs, then take advantage of our 180-night trial to try one out at home for improved sleep.


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This singer sleeps in an oxygen chamber (and other celeb sleep issues)


It doesn’t matter how luxurious and comfy your bedroom is: No one is protected from the challenges of getting a good night’s sleep. That holds true for even the rich and famous, as the Cleveland Clinic reports that about 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders.


So, while celebrity lives might look glamorous on the red carpet, when the lights are off, many of them suffer from the same sleep issues we do. Whether it’s anxiety, a partner who snores or an unpredictable work schedule, these 10 A-listers have talked about their sleep problems publicly.


“The Morning Show” actress recently snagged Best Actress in a Drama Series at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, but Aniston says her real-life A.M. rituals are still “a work in progress,” according to a February 2019 interview on Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global Podcast. Like many of us, Aniston noted how she still sleeps with her phone by her bedside, which makes her feel anxious and stressed.


This isn’t the first time Aniston has alluded to her sleep issues. In 2016, she revealed her struggles with insomnia and that keeping electronics off at night has made a big difference in her sleep.


To help her unwind before bed, Aniston practices some meditation and yoga. “I also do a quick meditation before I get into bed, even if it’s just for five minutes,” Aniston told Huffington. “There are also some yoga poses that I’ve found to be quite helpful in relaxing my mind, even if it’s just a simple downward dog and some stretching.”


If you suffer from anxiety, it might be a good idea to take a page off of Aniston’s sleep script. Studies show that yoga can help relieve anxiety and boost mood. For instance, a small November 2010 study in TheJournal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine finds that practicing yoga helps improve mood and decrease anxiety. Moreover, an October 2016 study in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research suggests that mindfulness meditation can help improve sleep in patients with insomnia.


Chrissy Teigen loves to cook—it’s why she decided to write a cookbook and launch her food blog Cravings. Naturally, the model-turned-cookbook author gets nightly cravings. So how does she satisfy them? Night eggs. “Each night before bed, as I eat my night eggs, if I’m not on the Twitter, I catch up on my favorite subreddits,” she wrote in a Twitter post.


When one of Teigen’s followers asked her to explain her night eggs habit, she said, “I can’t sleep without being overly full. I take two hard boiled eggs to bed every night and eat them when I randomly wake up.” Teigen added, “It used to be beef jerky, but I’d wake up too puffy.”


Michael J. Breus, PhD, clinical psychologist and fellow at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, explained to Saatva in a previous post that one of the most common reasons people wake up in the middle of the night is because they’re hungry.


“Each stage of sleep uses a certain amount of glucose,” Breus told us. “During REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, your brain actually uses more glucose than when you’re awake. During Stage 4 of sleep—when your body repairs muscles and tissues and helps boosts immunity—you burn just as much glucose.” To avoid hangry sleep, Breus suggests eating a bedtime snack that’s rich in carbs and protein.


If you have a partner who has completely different bedtime habits than you, then you’ll be sympathetic to Lowe’s sleep situation. During a May 2018 interview on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” the “9-1-1 Lone Star” actor shared he’s been lacking in the snooze department because his wife plays Family Feud on her iPad until five or six in the morning. “I sleep better on the road because I’m not with my wife,” he told DeGeneres. “It’s the truth. I love her enough to speak the truth,” he said.


While Lowe still shares the same bed with his wife when he’s at home, many couples have benefited from having “sleep divorces,” in which they sleep in separate beds or bedrooms.


“Separate sleep environments allow people to sleep with the room the way they like it, and this can lead to better sleep,” Lynelle Schneeberg, PsyD, pediatric sleep psychologist and author of Become Your Child’s Sleep Coach: The Bedtime Doctor’s 5-Step Guide, Ages 3-10, previously told Saatva. According to a 2005 National Sleep Foundation survey, about 31% of respondents say they or their partner sleep in a separate bed, bedroom or on the couch to make sure they get a good night’s sleep.


Do you ever toss and turn in bed the night before a big presentation or event? You’re not alone, but imagine feeling that way every day. Known for her spectacular performances and chart-topping songs, Lady Gaga’s larger-than-life lifestyle has her constantly living and breathing music, which has affected her sleep.


Lady Gaga revealed in an interview with OK! magazine that she often has sleepless nights because of her work and passion as a musician. “My passion is so strong I can’t sleep—I haven’t slept for three days,” she said in the interview“I lie in bed and try to pray and breathe. I have a very overactive mind. I’m the sort of person who would never take medication to calm myself. It’s maddening. But I love what comes out.”


The Rock is serious about his workout schedule. In fact, his training is so important that he’ll sacrifice sleep just to get some “me time.” In a December 2017 interview with Variety, Johnson said he sleeps only three to five hours a night just so he can squeeze in a workout before his whole family wakes up.


“The only thing that’s regimented is I have to wake up before the sun gets up,” he said in the interview. “And I have my two hours alone when no one else is up and the house is quiet.” During his alone time, Johnson says he meditates, works out and gets some work done.


While The Rock might feel productive getting only a couple hours of sleep at night, the reality is that the average person needs more slumber. That’s why the National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get seven to nine hours of sleep each night.


Lowe and his wife aren’t the only couple that might snooze better in separate beds. Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos recently opened up about their slumber woes on an episode of “Live with Kelly and Ryan.” Specifically, they spoke about how Consuelos’s snoring has kept Ripa up at night. “I have taken up snoring, which is weird,” Consuelos said on the show. “It’s not something you can control, and I wish I could because I know you need your sleep.”


He added, “We read yesterday that snoring actually has a major impact on the person you’re sleeping with and kills them.”


There’s some truth to that: About 26% of respondents from the 2005 National Sleep Foundation survey say they lose about 49 minutes of sleep each night because of their partner’s sleep problems, which includes snoring.


Justin Bieber recently revealed on Instagram that he was diagnosed with Lyme disease, an infection caused by tick bites. He said the combination of Lyme disease and a serious case of mono “affected my skin, brain function, energy, and overall health.” Research has shown that the pain associated with Lyme disease can affect sleep and make it more difficult to get a good night’s rest.


Last year, Bieber also shared that he had been coping with depression, which can affect his energy levels and sleep patterns. He even posted Instagram photos of himself sleeping inside a hyperbaric oxygen chamber to help treat his mental health issues. The chamber allows him to breathe in air with higher levels of oxygen, but there aren’t any known studies that show it can specifically help with depression.


ChinaImages/ Deposit Photos


Juggling a busy career as a TV producer and writer with being a mom to a toddler, Mindy Kaling has her hands full and probably wishes she could get more sleep at night. In a Twitter post from April 2019, Kaling shared a letter board from mom blogger Danielle Rae that read: “Mom Sleep: It’s like regular sleep but without the sleep.”


Kaling captioned her Twitter post, “I feel heard.” All moms of babies and young children know the daily battle of getting enough sleep. A 2004 National Sleep Foundation poll finds that three in 10 parents report experiencing insomnia at least a few nights a week.


Songstress Demi Lovato has opened up about their issues with depression, eating disorders, and drug and alcohol addictions (and how those have affected her sleep) with her fans. In MTV’s “Demi Lovato: Stay Strong” documentary, she discussed her struggles to stay healthy and sober while she builds her career and tours.


“I didn’t really realize I was sick,” Lovato said in the documentary. “I thought that writing seven songs in one night was normal. I thought that staying up until 5:30 in the morning is normal. I just couldn’t sleep. My mind was racing and it’s an ongoing thing and I still learn how to cope with it.”


Deposit Photos


When the country star was pregnant with her second child in 2018, Underwood voiced a common issue many pregnant women know all too well: pregnancy insomnia. In a tweet posted at 4:29 a.m., the Grammy award-winning singer wrote, “Dear pregnancy insomnia, Please go bother someone else…like dads. Go bother dads. My husband sleeps so soundly and peacefully and I’ve been awake for 2 hours (so far). How is this fair? Imma lose my mind!”


A few hours after tweeting, Underwood revealed she had done some online shopping in the middle of the night. “Worst part about insomnia = waking up this morning to see what I bought online while I was up,” she wrote. “I just realized I spent over $600 on makeup.”


Approximately 78% of women experience pregnancy insomnia, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Some of the most common causes of insomnia during pregnancy include heartburn, back pain, frequent urination, and anxiety. An October 2017 study from the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine suggests that depressive symptoms, nighttime eating, snoring, and tingling in the legs are all associated with insomnia during pregnancy.


Want to improve your sleep habits? Here are healthy bedtime habits to steal from people around the world.



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