14 May 2019

How many hours should you sleep for?

Sleep is a very important part of our day, but with the pressures of modern society and the pace of our lives today, we may find ourselves getting less and less of it each night.

The amount of sleep each person needs can really vary.

Some people swear by a schedule of 8 hours every night, whereas others get by with only six and are fully functioning. Then you hear of entrepreneurs like Elon Musk who work over 80 hours a week to run billion-dollar empires, sacrificing sleep in the process.

It begs the question: how many hours do we really need?

It can be a personal thing, however there are some guidelines.

The role of sleep on you

Sleep is a natural human function that is part of our regular routine for health and well-being. Throughout the night, our minds are able to rest while our physical body repairs, and sufficient quality sleep leaves us refreshed and ready for another day.

When we are well rested, we are able to function better however, when we aren’t, we can suffer from daytime tiredness, frustration, a lack of concentration, headaches and much more.

To obtain sufficient sleep, you need to give your body enough hours in bed.

How many hours of sleep do we need?

There is no definitive number as medical opinions and research varies slightly.However, generally speaking, the average healthy adult requires approximately 7 to 8 hours per night, with a range from 5 to 10 hours.

This can vary with age. For example, teenagers need between 8 to 10 hours of sleep every night, and as people approach their seventies, sleep requirements drop by an average of 1.5 hours.

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recently reviewed their recommended hours of sleep each night, to produce the following guidelines:

  • 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): 10-13 hours
  • School-age children (6-13): 9-11 hours
  • Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours
  • Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours
  • Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours
  • Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours

Understanding Your Sleep - ResSleep

This should provide some guidance around what hours of sleep you should be aiming for each night.

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Just remember it’s not just about counting hours

In the end, the number of hours is just a rough guide.

It’s even more important to practise good sleep hygiene techniques, such as avoiding technology, stress and bright lights before heading to bed. This will ensure that the hours you’re getting are allowing you quality sleep.

Sleep is not one long period of unconsciousness but actually a series of Non-REM and REM (Resting Eye Movement) Cycles. The best rest comes from sleeping enough hours to complete a full cycle a number of times.

To read more, see our blog: What is REM sleep?

Want to learn more about improving your overall sleep?

In a world today where it’s all too easy to experience sleep depravity, we should all be aiming to get the most out of our sleep to remain healthy and happy each day.At ResSleep, we have created a free eBook available to download right now, called the 8 Ways To Sleep Better Tonight, which explains the eight best ways to improve your sleep in order to get the best rest out of every night.

Book A Sleep Consultation

If you wish to talk to someone about your current sleep patterns or find out more about having a sleep test, you can book a sleep consultation today and put your mind at ease.


ResSleep - 8 Great Sleep Tips


  1.     Sleep: Facts and hygiene. The Department for Health and Ageing, Government of South Australia.  
  2.     Healthy Sleep Habits. Heath Direct, Australian Government Department of Health.
  3.     Teenagers and Sleep. Better Health, Victoria.
  4.     The Government is worried you’re not getting enough sleep. ABC News, Nov 2018.
  5.     Experts reveal new sleep requirements for different age groups. The Sydney Morning Herald, Feb 2015.