How much sleep do you need at every age? Guidance for babies, kids, teens, adults

A young woman sleeping on a white sheet with her stomach down.  (stock image)

How much sleep you need depends on your age. (stock image)

Sleep is a basic bodily function for people of all ages; renews your body and mind at the end of each day. This restorative process keeps us healthy, energized and improves mental clarity, memory, concentration, inflammation, mood and other vital aspects of the human body. On the other hand, lack of sleep has been associated with adverse health effects such as poor mental health, obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and even premature death.

So how much sleep do you need to be healthy? The answer largely depends on your age. Let’s review the recommended daily sleep times for each age group.

Newborn (0-3 months)

The recommended amount of sleep for newborns varies among experts. While the American Academy of Sleep Medicine does not find a set recommendation for newborn sleep hours, Child and Youth Health Canada recommends 14 to 17 hours each day for newborns. That’s too many hours! This restorative sleep helps babies recover from their dramatic entrance into the world.

baby sleeping on white paper

Babies need 12-16 hours of sleep (Photo via Getty Images)

Babies (4-12 months)

As babies grow, they also need long hours of restorative sleep. Babies need between 12 and 16 hours of sleep every 24 hours, including naps. While many parents are concerned that their baby is sleeping too much, this amount of sleep is actually a sign of a healthy, growing little one. Basically, a baby has a job and he’s sleeping.

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Toddlers (1-2 years)

Tiny babies need naps for a reason, as it’s been suggested they need 11 to 14 hours of sleep a day as part of healthy development. Make sure you prioritize nap time for their growing body and mind to properly heal from all the new things they’ve learned in a day.

Children: Preschool (3-5 years)

Young children also need a lot of sleep, between 10 and 13 hours a day. It’s clear why nap time is important in preschool. At this age, it’s important to establish regular bedtimes, wake-up times, and nap times to ensure your child’s healthy sleep habits. Cozy friends like stuffed animals and night lights can also help kids fall asleep and stay asleep.

boy sleeping in bed

Children need up to 13 hours of sleep a day, depending on their age. (Photo via Getty Images0

Children: School age (5-12 years)

Growing children still need more sleep than adults, and this age group needs between 9 and 12 hours of sleep every 24 hours. Because all kids are different, some may need naps after school, while others don’t. Also, with some school hours starting earlier than others, it’s important to encourage a set bedtime and a healthy rest routine to get enough sleep each night before the early alarms. Reducing screen time before bed can help kids fall asleep faster and have better sleep quality.

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Young people (13-18 years old)

As teens grow up and go about their busy school lives, they need 8 to 10 hours of sleep a day to replenish their hard-working minds and bodies. Approaching adulthood is the perfect time to start establishing healthy sleep habits for life. Some of these habits are reducing blue light before going to bed, not eating too close to bedtime, and learning stress management tools., and stick to a routine.

Adults (18-64)

The recommended sleep duration for all adults aged 18 and over remains the same: 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. In addition, sleep quality is just as important as the hours of sleep a person gets. High-quality sleep means getting enough of each sleep stage, such as REM and deep sleep, and minimal disturbances such as tossing and turning. While the various stressors and busy schedules of adult life can make it difficult to get enough sleep, it’s important to prioritize sleep to stay healthy, keep your mind and body strong, and prevent related diseases.

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Adult woman with gray hair sleeping in bed.

There is a common misconception that adults 60 and older don’t need a lot of sleep, but they also need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.

Adults (60+)

There is a common misconception that adults 60 and older don’t need a lot of sleep, but they also need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Some adults do not get enough sleep as aging bodies may have more difficulty falling asleep. Despite this, adults aged 60 and over should prioritize the same amount of sleep as it is essential at all stages of life. Plus, adequate sleep helps prevent conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, muscle wasting, and more.

Solution

Getting enough sleep is essential at any point in life. While babies and toddlers need long-term sleep, the required hours of sleep decrease to 7-9 hours as we get older. However, these hours of true sleep – not just time spent in bed – are crucial to restoring the minds and bodies that work hard for us every day. Making sleep a bigger priority in your life can lead to increased mood and mental well-being, properly functioning bodies, and a better fight against disease.

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