How many hours of sleep do you really need?

Resting enough hours is fundamental to keep your body healthy

hours of sleep

Not having enough hours of sleep can affect your health, your brain performance and your beauty, but what does “enough hours” entails? The average recommendation is for 8h of sleep every night, but that’s not necessarily true depending on your age.

Babies and children must sleep longer as they are still growing and developing while adults can fend well with fewer hours too depending on their age.

How many hours of sleep should you be getting?

The National Sleep Foundation has conducted an evaluation of the different scientific literature regarding the sleep needs of each age. The results were reviewed by experts until a general guideline was attained according to the individual’s lifespan and is as follows:

Age Hours of sleep needed
Newborns (<3 months old) 14h – 17h
Infants (4 – 11 months old) 12h – 15h
Toddlers (1 – 2 years old) 11h – 14h
Preschoolers (3 – 5 years old) 10h – 13h
School-aged (6 – 13 years old) 9h – 11h
Teenagers (14 – 17 years old) 8h – 10h
Adults (18 – 64 years old) 7h – 9h
Elderly (<64 years old) 7h – 8h

6 tips to get the sleep you need

If you have troubles falling asleep, there are some tricks you can use to help you out. Below you can find some strategies to get you the number of Zzz you need to keep your body healthy.

Organize yourself

Organize yourself hours of sleep

Most people don’t get enough hours of sleep because they can’t organize their time. If you need to wake up every day at 6 am but you only go to bed at 1 am, there is no way you can get the rest you need.

Take a sit and try to write down all the activities you’re doing in the evening and that are preventing you from going to bed earlier. You might be surprised to find out that it’s not those activities that are consuming your time, but rather your procrastination.

Try to organize your agenda in such a way that you always go to bed at the same time. If the gap between the sleep you’re getting and the one you need is big, starting increasing your sleeping time progressively.

If you simply decide to go to bed one day much earlier than you are used to, you will just be lying awake for quite some time as the body doesn’t understand that it’s supposed to relax earlier than normal.

Save 30 min just to relax

When you’re organizing yourself, save 30 minutes before bedtime to do relaxing activities. These will help you wind-down from any tension and stress from the day and will signal your brain that it’s time to prepare for recovery.

Ideally, a relaxing activity should not include screens as their light works as stimuli to the brain. Try reading a book, listening to music or playing an old-fashion table game, for instance.

Keep work out of your bedroom

Your bedroom should be only for sleeping. There shouldn’t be any computers or work laying around as well as any objects that you associate with stress or your hob.

Even the relaxing activities before going to bed should be performed in a different room.

The goal is for the brain to associate that room with sleep only so when you enter it, it starts to relax immediately to prepare to rest.

Create the perfect sleeping conditions

Create the perfect sleeping conditions hours of sleep

Remove any distractions from your bedroom and block anything that might affect your sleep quality.

Invest in some thicker curtains or better blinds if needed. Remove any noisy objects and try to find ways to block any sounds from the exterior from coming in, or consider using earplugs.

Exercise during the day

Don’t exercise before bedtime as it will leave your body “wired” and sleep will take longer to come. Do, however, exercise during the day.

Depleting your energies will make you feel more tired and sleepy in the evening. Even if you wanted to keep playing games or watching TV, it will be extremely hard to keep your eyes open and you will end up going to bed earlier.

Don’t drink, smoke or drink coffee before bedtime

These are all habits that stimulate your body and keep it alert. If you don’t feel like sleeping, you will delay going to bed and will not get the hours of sleep you need.

Ready to go to bed?

Getting the needed hours of sleep might look impossible depending on your lifestyle, but give it a try for at least a week. You will feel so much better and full of energy after this short-period of proper rest that you will be extra motivated to find the time to sleep longer.

In the video below you can learn other strategies that can help you increase the hours of sleep per night slowly so it doesn’t affect your agenda and work to be done.