Know Your Numbers: Hours of Sleep

Sleep is key to our daily lives and impacts our mood, energy, focus and how we react to stress. Long-term sleep loss can take a toll on your mental and physical health. It's important to know how much you're sleeping each night and if you're meeting your nightly sleep goals. Having an awareness of your sleep needs, creating a healthy sleep routine, and knowing how to get back on track after excessive sleep loss can help you get on your way to sleeping better, and improving your quality of life.

Make Quality Sleep a Priority

Assess your individual needs and sleep habits and ask yourself whether you need to improve your sleep hygiene. If you are feeling underproductive every day, waking most nights, and feel like you need to highly caffeinate yourself to get through the work day it may be time to start making your nightly routine a priority.

  • Make sure a medical problem isn’t the root of your sleeping issues, or maybe a side effect of a medication you’re currently taking.
  • Regular exercise can improve many symptoms of sleep disorders. Getting at least 30 minutes of activity every day is ideal, but make sure it isn’t too close to bedtime as it will give you a boost of energy and could keep you away.
  • A regular sleep schedule is important to support your biological clock by waking and going to sleep at the same time every day, even on the weekends.
  • If stress seems to be keeping you from falling asleep at night it’s time to get help with stress management. Learning to deal with stress in a productive way can help your mind shut off when it’s time for bed.
  • Don’t drink or eat too close to bedtime as sugary foods, alcohol and caffeine can disrupt your sleep.
  • Your sleep environment should reflect a dark, quiet, and cool atmosphere. Do not do work in bed or lay awake looking at your phone while in bed as this can train your body to bring the stresses of the outside world into the bedroom and disrupt sleep.
  • Create a bedtime routine that relaxes you such as avoiding screen time, reading a book, soaking in the bath, or drinking nighttime tea. There are many different ways to relax before bed.

If you are regularly experiencing troublesome problems with sleeping such as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, are often tired during the day even if you get enough sleep the night before, have reduced or impaired ability to perform your daily activities, or your partner has said you often snore or seem to stop breathing during sleep, don’t hesitate to visit your doctor. 

How much sleep do I need?

Age Hours of Sleep
Infants ages 0 to 3 months
14 to 17 hours a day
Infants ages 4 to 11 months 12 to 15 hours a day
Toddlers ages 1 to 2 years 11 to 14 hours a day
Pre-School Children ages 3 to 5 years 10 to 13 hours a day
School Children ages 6 to 13 years  9 to 11 hours a day
Teens ages 14 to 17 years 8 to 10 hours a day
Adults ages 18 to 64 years 7 to 9 hours each day (some may need as few as 6 hours or as many as 10 hours)
Older adults ages 65 and older 7 to 8 hours of sleep
Women in the first 3 months of pregnancy

*Require several more hours than the usual 7 to 9 hours each day

*Information in the chart provided by WebMd.