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How much sleep do you need?

It's tough to determine how much sleep our bodies actually need. Everyone feels tired at different times of the day and night. Some people can fully function and run on little to no sleep, while others need more than the average 8 hours to feel well rested.

When it comes to sleep, how do we know much we really need? Experts, magazines, research, teachers, and even your parents tell you that at least 8 hours is the standard amount to strive for. However, is it important to recognize that there is no magic number. According to The National Sleep Foundation, the amount of sleep a person needs varies on their age, health and other life factors.

We put together a snapshot of how much sleep everyone in your family needs to function at their best and to live a healthy, well-rested life.

Newborns and babies

need anywhere from 13-16 hours of sleep per day in their first year of life. As any parent knows, these hours are not consecutive, and babies sleep in shorter shifts and often wake up during the night. As newborns, babies have not yet established their circadian rhythms, which can lead to irregular sleep patterns that last throughout the day and night. As babies age, their sleep patterns begin to balance out as they settle into more traditional day/night cycles.

Toddlers

are recommended to get 12-14 hours of sleep per day, which includes an afternoon nap that lasting between 1-3 1/2 hours.

Children between 3 and 6 years old

need 10-12 hours of sleep per day. Most three year olds are still napping, while at 5 most are not. For older school-aged kids between 7 and 12, it is recommended that they get 10-11 hours of sleep per day. However, with an increase in academic and extracurricular activities, later bedtimes make 9 hours the norm.

Teens and young adults

often go through a night owl phase where their lifestyle habits cause them to have a lot of energy at night and have a hard time falling asleep. However, this is an important age to begin establishing a bedtime routine and striving for 8-9 hours of sleep, especially when school calls for an early rising. Lack of sleep can cause anyone, not just teens and adolescents, to be irritable, tired and unhappy.

Adults

should get average of 6.5-7.5 hours of sleep. According to a Time Magazine health report, people who manage to stay within that range tend to live longer; whereas people who sleep more than 8 hours could have shortened life spans. Sleeping too little or too much can both have negative factors on health and endurance. See our "Can too much sleep be bad for you?" blog for more information.

So whether you work late hours, have to get up early, are a parent or work the night shift, finding the right amount of sleep for you and your family is vital to your health and happiness. It is important to establish healthy sleep patterns and routine for yourself and for your family members to ensure you're all getting the recommended amount of sleep for your age.

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