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Exactly How Much Sleep Do I Need?

For most people, life can get really busy. When there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, it leaves us wondering “how much sleep do I need?”. Most people don’t get nearly enough sleep, and it's important to know just how much sleep you should be getting. Too much sleep or too little sleep can both be dangerous to mental, physical, and social health. 

How many hours? 

To answer the question “how much sleep do I need?” you should first look at age. The amount of sleep a baby or child needs is obviously a lot different than for a middle aged person. The number of hours you do sleep affects your sleep schedule as well as your days.

Find the answer to “how much sleep do I need” by checking out this sleep chart by age:

0-3 months Around 14 - 17 hours
4 - 12 months Around 12 - 16 hours
1 - 2 years Around 11 - 14 hours
3- 5 years Around 10 - 13 hours
6 - 12 years Around 9 - 12 hours
13 - 18 years Around 8 - 10 hours
18 - 60 years At least 7 hours
61 - 64 years Around 7 - 9 hours
65 years and older Around 7 - 8 hours

How many hours of sleep you need seems to decrease over the course of our lives, but the importance of sleeping the appropriate amount does not. Many people wonder “is 6 hours of sleep enough”, but for every age group the answer is no. 

What happens when I am not sleeping enough?

Now that you know the answer to “how much sleep do I really need”, you may have realized that you aren't sleeping enough. When life gets crazy, the first thing that usually pays the price is our sleep schedule. When we don’t get enough sleep, the obvious thing that happens is that we feel sluggish, irritable, and work performance may be affected. The long term effects are a bit more serious. 

  • Inability to concentrate
  • Increased risk of diabetes
  • Increased risk of obesity
  • Blood pressure increases
  • A weakened immune system
  • Poor memory
  • More accident prone

These symptoms of lack of sleep are scary, but real. There are also many other serious links to lack of sleep that doctors keep discovering. Sleep should be an important priority in your life to help retain good mental, physical, and social health. 

What happens when you get too much sleep?

Unfortunately, many of the effects of sleeping too much are similar to not sleeping enough. Those who are spending too much time sleeping may experience weight gain, increased pain, heart disease, depression, and more. A bit of oversleeping on the weekends is not going to cause all of these problems, although it is best to keep a similar sleep schedule. These symptoms may be caused by frequent oversleeping for extended periods of time. 

What if I just can’t sleep?

For those who have trouble sleeping or never feel rested, there may be something more serious going on. Some individuals who have trouble sleeping or develop snoring are being affected by sleep apnea. Sleep Apnea is a common condition that impacts around 22 million Americans. This disorder causes varied breathing patterns while sleeping and can be found in all ages. There are different kinds of sleep apnea. Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Central Sleep Apnea, and Mixed Sleep Apnea are all common. Sleep Apnea can contribute to a variety of health problems including irregular heart beats, heart problems, diabetes, and more. If you fear that you may be affected by sleep apnea, you should seek professional medical help. Learn more about sleep apnea.

How much sleep do I need: Modern Sleep Solutions

Everyone should be entitled to a good night's sleep. The health problems associated with not making sleep a priority could be avoided. If you are having trouble sleeping there may be something more serious going on, like sleep apnea. Call today to get back to sleeping great, and feeling great during the day. Schedule a consultation today!

Nahmjee Lee-Skarada, D.M.D.

Nahmjee Lee-Skarada, DMD, is a diplomate of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Dr. Lee-Skarada specializes exclusively in the care of patients with sleep-disordered breathing.

Nahmjee Lee-Skarada, D.M.D.