Sleeping woman

How much sleep do you actually need?

Written by Workopolis
Posted on

I used to think I was one of those people who can’t get by on less than 8 hours of sleep. Then I had a kid and, because I also have a full time job and insomnia, realized that I can indeed get by on less than that. A lot less. So much less in fact that I don’t even remember the last time I had eight uninterrupted hours of sleep – though I do know it was sometimes before March 2013 (nearly two years ago at time of writing). No, I’m not exaggerating for effect.

I survive. But living this way is far from ideal. Lack of adequate sleep has been linked to stroke, diabetes, anxiety, heart disease, and cancer.

In a perfect world, I’d get more sleep and not be exhausted at work by two in the afternoon and ready to pass out under my desk by four. How much do I actually need? I think about eight hours, but the recommendations actually vary widely.

The National Sleep foundation has just revised its guidelines for how much sleep you need at each age, and created a handy-dandy chart. The chart features sleep the categories “recommended,” “may be appropriate,” and “not appropriate.” So, an adult aged 26-64 years, for example probably needs 7-9 hours, while anywhere from 6-10 hours may be appropriate, while 0 hours is “not appropriate” and neither is 23 hours (in case you were wondering).

Toddlers need anywhere between 9-16 hours (with 11-14 being recommended) and teenagers need 7-11 (with 8-10 being recommended).

See the chart below. And, if you want some tips on how to get more sleep, so you can function optimally all day and be bright eyed and bushy tailed, have a look at some here. I should probably take my own advice.