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How Much Sleep Do You Need To Keep Yourself Healthy?

Oct 14, 2022

photo of person holding alarm clock | How Much Sleep Do You Need To Keep Yourself Healthy? | Featured

What’s the ideal number of hours for adults to sleep? Healthy adults get around 7-9 hours of rest each night, but some factors may weigh in.

RELATED: Tips To Get A Good Sleep And Boost Your Immune System

Ideal Number of Hours to Sleep According to Sleep Experts

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What’s the Ideal Number of Hours to Sleep Based on Age?

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How many hours we ideally sleep per night varies largely on age.

We sleep the most when we are babies, sleeping majority of the day. Then as we grow older, we need less and less sleep.

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), according to your age you should get:

  • Infants
    • 4-12 months old: 12-16 hours (naps included)
  • Children
    • 1-2 years old: 11-14 hours (naps included)
    • 3-5 years old: 10-13 hours (naps included)
    • 6-12 years old: 9-12 hours (naps included)
  • Teens, 13-18 years old: 8-10 hours
  • Adults: at least 7 hours

The AASM stresses that instead of getting 7-9 hours of rest nightly, focus on getting at least seven hours of sleep per night. Instead of subscribing to the idea of a cap, try to get as much sleep as your body may need.

They recommend that healthy adults get at least seven hours of sleep per night. However, you may sleep for up to nine hours if you’re ill or are paying back some sleep debt. Healthy young adults might also get nine hours of good sleep.

And in addition to getting enough sleep, good sleep is also:

  • appropriately timed
  • done on a regular basis
  • of good quality (uninterrupted)
  • absent of sleep disorders

Unfortunately, if you slept for three hours, woke up in the middle of the night, then slept for another 4.5 hours, that may not be counted as 7.5 hours of sleep.

Good sleep must be deep, restful, and uninterrupted. This is why it’s important to create an ideal sleep environment that will allow you the best sleep possible.

Other Factors That to Consider?

In addition to age, there are also factors that determine how much sleep you would ideally get.

Factors that may affect how much sleep you need per night include:

  • physical activity
  • jobs that are physically demanding
  • recovering from sleep deprivation
  • existing health issues
  • pregnancy

Reflect on these factors and think about how they might affect your sleep.

If you think you get too little or too much sleep, talk to your doctor about it. Fixing your sleeping habits entails proper sleep hygiene and tackling some issues that might be hurting your sleep quality.

What Happens if I Don’t Get Enough Sleep?

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Chronic sleep deprivation can hurt a lot of your body systems like your cardiovascular, immune, endocrine, and nervous system.

And if you think it’s not urgent to better your sleep habits, note that there are long- and short-term effects of chronic sleep loss.

The morning after a restless night, you may experience:

  • lower quality of life
  • emotional distress
  • daytime sleepiness
  • lack of alertness
  • impaired memory
  • performance deficits
  • a higher risk of car accidents

And, in the long run, sleep deprivation could also increase your risk of:

  • metabolic syndrome
  • weight-related issues
  • high blood pressure
  • dyslipidemia
  • heart disease
  • type 2 diabetes
  • cancer
  • all-cause mortality

Note that these are the consequences of chronic sleep deprivation in otherwise healthy people.

This means your habit of sacrificing a few hours of sleep for a few more episodes on Netflix could hurt your health over time. And especially in this age where the city lights light up the sky 24/7, it’s important to stress that it is good to turn the lights out come bedtime.

Poor sleep could also worsen conditions, like:

  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease

If you think you’re guilty of sleep deprivation, go over the symptoms of lack and sleep and work on doctoring them.

RELATED: Lack Of Sleep Symptoms And How To Fix Them

What Can I Do to Get Better Sleep?

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In most cases, it takes a simple lifestyle change and good sleep hygiene practices to improve the quality of your sleep, like:

  • avoid using gadgets two hours before bedtime
  • limit how much you drink near bedtime
  • have a light dinner
  • experiment with white noise
  • sleeping in a dark room
  • keeping the bedroom cool throughout the night
  • investing in a spine-supporting mattress

But if you have underlying conditions that make it hard to get some uninterrupted rest, it’s best to discuss with your doctor.

Ideal Number of Hours to Sleep—Is There Such Thing?

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Until now, sleep remains to be a complex concept and there’s still so much to discover.

Some sleep experts put forth the idea that maybe it’s incorrect to believe that there is a “magic number” and that the relationship between sleep duration and age isn’t inverse.

And while it’s good to have a general guideline to prevent sleep deprivation, it’s important to know that how much sleep you truly need may vary case-by-case.

One study found that getting extra hours of sleep (sleep extension) may help improve athletic performance and recovery. Another small study found that at least 10 hours of sleep can help college basketball players reach their peak athletic performance.

While sleep scientists figure out the intricacies of sleep, how much of it we really need, and what the official definition of optimal sleep is, the best way to stay healthy is to get enough sleep.

Current recommendations are evidence-based with lots of in-depth research as a foundation.

Although there’s a continuous discussion on the ideal sleep duration and how we determine what it truly is, there is no doubt that there is such thing as sleep deprivation.

And its consequences and risks are well-studied and documented.

Take this as a guideline to keep your body running normally and took maintain normal levels of performance. Sleep is largely known as one of the three pillars of health along with physical activity and a nutritious diet.

Get At Least 7 Hours of Sleep

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Getting the ideal sleep duration isn’t just about feeling re-energized and refreshed for the next day. It’s about making you feel good everyday and healthy all the way to your golden years.

In addition to keeping multiple diseases and age-related conditions at bay, it keeps your body functioning at optimal performance.

How well we sleep now dictates how healthy we are far into the future. So think about bedtime as an investment in yourself. It’s one of the best things you can do for your body for now—and in the future.

Do you get enough sleep at night? Or do you have a new item to add on your New Years’ Resolution? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below! We’d love to hear from you.