How much sleep do you really need?

Prioritizing sleep and following steps to become your best slept self will help you optimize your brain health, emotional well-being, and overall health

by

Shireen Shahnas

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Published: Fri 6 Oct 2023, 11:14 AM

Last updated: Wed 15 Nov 2023, 4:56 PM

Recognizing the importance of a good night's rest is not just about combating fatigue, it's about nurturing emotional well-being, fostering resilience, and paving the way for a happier and more contented life. By prioritizing and enhancing the quality of your sleep, you are not only investing in physical health but also nurturing the foundation of true happiness.

How long should you sleep?

The recommended duration of sleep varies with age, with the National Sleep Foundation providing general guidelines:


1. Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours per day

2. Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours per day


3. Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours per day

4. Preschoolers (3-5 years): 10-13 hours per day

5. School-age children (6-13 years): 9-11 hours per day

6. Teenagers (14-17 years): 8-10 hours per day

7. Younger adults (18-25 years): 7-9 hours per day

8. Adults (26-64 years): 7-9 hours per day

9. Older adults (65+ years): 7-8 hours per day

It's important to note that individual variations exist, and some people may feel well-rested with slightly more or less sleep than the recommended range.

Effective sleeping methods

1. Consistent sleep schedule: Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Consistency helps regulate your body's internal clock.

2. Create a relaxing bedtime routine: Engage in calming activities before bedtime, such as reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practising relaxation exercises. This signals to your body that it's time to wind down.

3. Optimize your sleep environment: Ensure your bedroom is conducive to sleep—dark, quiet, and cool. Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows for optimal comfort.

4. Limit screen time before bed: Reduce exposure to screens (phones, tablets, computers) at least an hour before bedtime. The blue light emitted can interfere with the production of the sleep hormone melatonin.

5. Mind your diet: Avoid heavy meals, caffeine, and alcohol close to bedtime. Opt for a light snack if hunger strikes.

6. Regular exercise: Incorporate regular physical activity into your routine, but try to finish exercise a few hours before bedtime.

7. Manage stress: Practise stress-reducing techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, or deep breathing exercises to unwind before sleep.

8. Limit naps: If you need to nap, keep it short (20-30 minutes) and avoid napping too close to bedtime.

9. Seek natural light exposure: Spend time outdoors during daylight hours to regulate your body's internal clock and promote better sleep.

10. Consult a professional: If sleep problems persist, consider seeking advice from a healthcare professional or sleep specialist.

Quality sleep is not just about quantity, it's about creating an environment and adopting practices that support restorative rest. By understanding the optimal duration of sleep for your age group and incorporating effective sleeping methods into your routine, you can transform your nights into a sanctuary of rejuvenation.

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