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How much sleep do I need?

The amount of sleep you need each night depends on your age, but everyone needs good sleep hygiene to stay healthy. Sleep deprivation could lead to other health problems down the road, like high blood pressure and obesity. 

The chart below shows how many hours of sleep you or your child should be getting depending on age.

Age Range Amount of Sleep Needed
Birth to 3 months 14 to 17 hours
4 to 11 months 12 to 16 hours
1 to 2 years 11 to 14 hours
3 to 5 years 10 to 13 hours
6 to 12 years 9 to 12 hours
13 to 18 years 8 to 10 hours
18 to 64 years 7 to 9 hours
65 and older 7 to 8 hours

Getting enough sleep may seem like a no-brainer, but many adults struggle to get in a solid eight hours of sleep each night. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, about 10% of American adults get insufficient sleep every night. 

Signs You’re Sleep-Deprived

Do you find yourself yawning at your desk around 3 p.m. every day? Are you snacking more than usual? You might not be getting enough sleep. 

Here are some signs that you’re not catching enough Z’s: 

  • You’re drowsy during the day
  • You’re easily distracted or irritable
  • You can’t focus at work or school

You might be in bed for eight hours, but that doesn’t mean your body is cycling through the stages of sleep properly. 

There are four stages of sleep: N1, N2, N3 and REM. These four stages make one cycle. It takes about 90 minutes for your body to get through one cycle of sleep. Waking up at the end of a cycle helps you feel more energized and ready for your day.

How to Get Better Sleep

There are several ways to prepare yourself for a good night’s sleep. 

Do: 

  • Get enough natural sunlight throughout the day. This maintains your body’s natural rhythms. 
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol intake before bed. 
  • Turn the A/C or fan on and keep your room cool and dark.
  • Read a book or magazine before bed.

Don’t:

  • Take naps, especially in the late afternoon.
  • Bring electronics like a laptop into bed with you. 
  • Exercise too close to bedtime.
  • Oversleep too much on the weekends – this disrupts your sleep schedule.

How Sleep Affects Your Overall Health

Getting enough quality sleep on a regular basis can help you live a healthier life, overall. People who don’t get enough sleep are at a higher risk of experiencing high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure or stroke. 

Short-term problems can arise from inadequate sleep, too. Feeling drowsy throughout the day can discourage you from doing the things you love, and can add stress to your relationships. A lack of focus while driving can lead to car accidents.

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