How much sleep do you really need?

August 09, 2021 - By Lucy Johnston

How much sleep do you really need?

It’s no secret that regular and quality sleep is critical to your mental health and physical wellbeing. But when it comes to getting the right among of rest, how much sleep do we really need?

Well, it changes throughout the course of life. But according to the latest research, here’s how much sleep you should be getting on a regular basis.

Children

With all that growing, mental development and activity, children need more sleep than adults. And if you’re a parent who has ever dealt with a sleep deprived child, you will know how critical the right amount of sleep at the right time is to their happiness and ability to take in information.

In 2015, not for profit organisation the National Sleep Foundation conducted a study on the amount of sleep required and altered their previous recommendations.

When it comes to children, they recommend the following:

  • Newborn (0-3 months): 14-17 hours
  • Infant (4-11 months): 12-15 hours
  • Toddler (1-2 years): 11-14 hours
  • Pre-schooler (3-5 years): 10-13 hours
  • School-age child (6-13 years): 9-11 hours

Teens

By the time a child reaches their teens, they require less sleep than they did previously, and the time of day when they feel tired is also likely to shift.

Experts note teens between the ages of 14 and 17 years of age need between 8 and 10 hours of sleep each night.

However, Better Health Victoria notes a teen’s body clock will naturally shift to make them feel tired later in the evening.

Between the shift in their sleep pattern and the distraction of modern technology, most teenagers only get about 6.5 to 7.5 hours of sleep each night.

Adults

By the time we become adults, the average person requires between 7 and 9 hours sleep each night on a regular basis.

And this extends from the time we turn 18 right through to our mid-60s when it drops a little to between 7 and 8 hours sleep each night.

That said, an estimated 7.4 million Australian adults fail to get adequate sleep, according to data released by The Sleep Health Foundation.

In other words, four in 10 Australian adults don’t get enough regular, quality sleep each night.

“Half of these people experience ongoing pathologically high levels of daytime sleepiness. The rest know that their sleep is routinely insufficient because they can’t function at normal levels of alertness, concentration and emotional control,” The Sleep Health Foundation explains.

Ultimately, they also found this costs the Australian economy $45 billion in lost productivity, not to mention the impact it has on mental health and general wellbeing, with a lack of sleep linked to depression, anxiety and a range of health disorders.

Getting a good night’s rest

So how do you ensure you and your family get adequate sleep throughout your life? Well, it comes down to habits known as sleep hygiene.

This includes properly preparing for sleep by winding down each night, shutting off those devices, avoiding stimulants like alcohol and caffeine, and creating an environment that’s conducive to a good night’s rest.

Further tips on how to get a good night’s sleep are available here.