How much sleep do adults really need?
Often, you may think about sleep needs in regards to babies, children, or teens. However, sleep needs never go away. Getting meaningful and adequate sleep is also very important for adults to function properly. Adult sleep needs and habits should be accounted for on an individual basis, but most need seven to eight hours of sleep a night.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and Sleep Research Society (SRS) recommends that every person over the age of twenty sleep seven or more hours a night. They go on to say that doing this will cultivate the highest level of health for adults.
Some of the benefits of sleeping for seven hours a night include:
Is it bad to only get 5 hours of sleep?
The recommendation that all adults get around eight hours of sleep a night is made with the knowledge that many adults might sleep more or less than that. Many factors play into how much someone may or may not need to sleep. Some of these are:
- Sleep quality. If you wake up or get woken up many times per night, your sleep will be disturbed and jolted. As a result, you won’t feel as rested. Therefore, the quality of your sleep is as important as how much sleep you get. For example, if you get five hours of high-quality sleep, that could be better than getting seven hours of disrupted sleep.
- Previous sleep history. If there are periods where you haven’t slept much, you will need more sleep in the future.
- Hormonal changes. Things like pregnancy and other hormonal shifts can significantly impact how much sleep you need to feel fully rested. Such shifts may create discomfort or pain, though, which hinders your ability to sleep, and this should also be accounted for.
- Aging. Older adults often have different sleeping patterns than younger adults. It might take longer for them to sleep, and they may sleep less and wake up more than other adults. This is a natural part of aging.
What’s the best way to sleep for optimum brain function?
Again, you should get between seven and eight hours of sleep. If you find that it is difficult to do this, or you are interested in making changes to how you sleep, the best ways to do that are:
- Having a consistent sleep schedule, even on the weekends
- Creating a routine before bed to help you relax
- Selecting the optimum bedding for you to feel comfortable
- Getting rid of light sources in your room
- Making sure that your bedroom is quiet
- Minimizing distracting scents in your bedroom
- Not looking at screens at least thirty minutes before your desired bedtime
- Avoiding caffeine and alcohol immediately before bed
Signs that you might want to see a doctor about your sleep habits are if you have:
- An inability to go to bed and stay asleep
- Chronic and/or loud snoring
- Drowsiness or fatigue during the day
- Leg cramps
- Trouble breathing while sleeping
- Mood changes
- Difficulty moving after you wake up
If you experience many of these symptoms regularly, you may have a sleep disorder, and you must seek medical attention to test for what that may be.
However, you may also need to simply adjust certain lifestyle choices during the daytime to get the sleep you need. These could be:
- Spending time outdoors
- Exercise earlier in the day, so you are not exercising before bed
- Avoiding drinking caffeine later in the day
- Limiting your naps to less than twenty minutes
- Trying to decrease your alcohol consumption to one drink or less a day
- Eating dinner at an earlier time
- Avoiding cigarettes or making a plan to quit smoking them
Overall, it is important to make sleep a priority. You are the only person who knows precisely how much sleep you need, and if you have been missing out on a lot of sleep recently, it is up to you to go back and find your natural sleep rhythms.
You may sometimes need to sleep much more than the recommended hours and sometimes less. All that matters is that you pay attention and make being well-rested a priority.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
GetSleep: "Assess Your Sleep Needs."
HealthinAging.org: "How Much Sleep Do Older Adults Need?"
Mayo Clinic: "How many hours of sleep are enough for good health?"
MyHealthfinder: "Get Enough Sleep."
Sleep: "Recommended Amount of Sleep for a Healthy Adult: A Joint Consensus Statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Research Society."
Top How Much Sleep Does an Adult Need Related Articles
Foods that Harm SleepNeed more shut-eye? Your late-night cravings could be keeping you from a good night’s sleep. Should you drink green tea before bed? Learn about the snacks that raise melatonin, your sleep hormone, through tryptophan, and find out why whole-grain and high-protein dinners might help you sleep better.
How Can I Fall Asleep in 2 Minutes?Adequate quantity and quality of sleep are important for you to stay healthy, both mentally and physically. While for a blessed few dozing off is an easy affair, going to sleep can be a struggle for many. Falling asleep in a short while, such as in 2 minutes, may be achieved by following certain tips and sleep rituals.
How Do I Get My Baby to Sleep Longer at Night?It's never too early to create a bedtime routine for your baby. Some of the things to include in your sleep routine include soothing activities, calming, shushing, and swaddling if your baby enjoys it.
How Do You Fall Asleep in 5 Minutes?Good sleep hygiene means practicing habits that help you get good quality sleep every night. Adequate sleep is essential for your overall mental and physical health. There are no quick fixes to fall asleep within five minutes, but there are strategies to help you fall asleep faster.
How to Fall Asleep FastIf you cannot fall asleep within 20-30 minutes of getting into bed or stay wide awake even after being extremely tired, then here are some tips.
Problem SleepinessWhen sleepiness interferes with daily routines and activities, or reduces the ability to function, it is called "problem sleepiness." A person can have problem sleepiness without realizing it. Symptoms of problem sleepiness include: consistently don't get enough sleep, or poor quality sleep, fall asleep while driving, struggle to stay awake when inactive (like watching TV or reading), have difficulty paying attention or concentrating at work, school, or home, have poor performance problems at work or school, have difficulty remembering things, have slowed responses, have difficulty controlling your emotions, and/or if you have to take naps on most days.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation?How do you know if you are deprived of sleep? Learn the signs and symptoms of sleep deprivation.
Sleep Disorders (How to Get a Good Night's Sleep)A number of vital tasks carried out during sleep help maintain good health and enable people to function at their best. Sleep needs vary from individual to individual and change throughout your life. The National Institutes of Health recommend about 7-9 hours of sleep each night for older, school-aged children, teens, and most average adults; 10-12 for preschool-aged children; and 16-18 hours for newborns. There are two stages of sleep; 1) REM sleep (rapid-eye movement), and 2) NREM sleep (non-rapid-eye movement). The side effects of lack of sleep or insomnia include:
- Feeling sleepy during the day
- Concentration or memory problems
Lack of sleep and insomnia can be caused by medical conditions or diseases, medications, stress, or pain. The treatment for lack of sleep and insomnia depends upon the cause.
Sleep Disorders in Children and TeenagersSleep needs in children and teenagers depend on the age of the child. Sleep disorders in children such as: sleep apnea, parasomnias, confusional arousals, night terrors, nightmares, narcolepsy, and sleepwalking which can affect a child's or teen's sleep. Healthy sleep habits and good sleep hygiene can help your infant, toddler, preschooler, tween, or teenager get a good night's sleep.
Sleep CycleSleep is a mystery to many of us, but scientists know quite a bit about how it affects us. Here's what happens to your body when you fall asleep.
Benefits of NappingNapping isn't just for babies. It can be great for adults, too. Learn why.
Sleep QuizTake our Sleeping Quiz to learn which sleep disorders, causes, and symptoms rule the night. Trouble falling or staying asleep? Find out which medical treatments fight sleep deprivation, apnea, insomnia, and more!
Sleep: The Best and Healthiest Sleeping Positions for Your HealthWhat is the best and healthiest sleeping position? Learn ways to say good night to back pain, neck pain, snoring, arthritis, and airway obstructions like sleep apnea. You may sleep on your side, stomach, or back. What does your sleep position have to do with chronic pain? Find out how to sleep for a more restful and comfortable night.
Which Way Should You Face Your Bed? Rules for a Better SleepThere is a lack of convincing scientific evidence to say that you should face your bed in a “particular” way or direction. However, as per the ancient Chinese practice, feng shui, you should face your headboard toward the south.
Why Am I Having Trouble Sleeping at Night?Having repeated difficulty with sleep initiation, maintenance or poor quality of sleep that occurs despite adequate time and opportunity for sleep, resulting in some form of daytime impairment is called insomnia.