How Many Hours of Sleep

Do you wonder how much sleep you should get every night?

Average adults should spend between 7.5 to 9 hours sleeping every night. Children need more sleep. Find out how many hours kids should sleep here.

When trying to balance family, work, friends, and other commitments, finding time to sleep (and to sleep well) can be tricky…

As such, many people end up cutting back on essential sleep…

To better understand why your body needs sleep, you need to understand the sleep-wake cycle (click on the previous link to learn more about it).

How Much Sleep – Finding Time to Sleep More

While many people think they manage well with only 6 or 7 hours of sleep every night, they are in fact chronically depriving their body of sleep!

Sure, you can function with such little sleep, but wouldn’t you rather function at your best every day?

Think about what you could accomplish with more energy or more focus? Would certain tasks be done more quickly? Would you be able to solve problems faster?

You may be thinking that it’s impossible for you to fit a minimum of 8 hours of sleep per day, but you may be surprised at what you can fit into your schedule when you rethink the way you spend your time.

I recently read a time-management book called 168 Hours. The author recommends that you look at your allocated time as a chunk of 168 hours (24 hours X 7 days) instead of just 24 hours per day. She then requests that you track your time to see where you typically spend your 168 hours. (No double-tracking allowed! If you eat lunch in front of the TV, you have to count it as either “Meals” or “TV”, but not both.)

After completing this assignment, you may be surprised! I personally thought I was pretty efficient at juggling various tasks in my life, but I had a nasty surprise! I like to exercise, but I realized I was wasting 5 hours per week traveling to various places to exercise. I’ve now committed to running closer to home, and I’ve gained 4 hours/week!

Once you look at the results, you’ll likely be able to rearrange your schedule so that fitting a good 8-hour night will be easier than you think.

I also recommend including an hour of relaxation time before bed (away from all electronics, including your phone and your TV), and perhaps spend quality time with your family, a good book, or even a warm bath.

How Much Sleep Should Children Get?

While everyone is different, here are the official recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics. These sleep times include naps. For example, infants could spend 9 to 12 hours sleeping at night, then have 30-minute naps to bring up their overall sleep time to 14 to 15 hours/day.

  • Newborn (0 – 2 months old): 10.5 to 18 hours
  • Infants (2 – 12 months old): 14 to 15 hours.
  • Toddlers (1 – 3 years old): 12 to 14 hours
  • Preschoolers (3 – 5 years old): 11 to 13 hours
  • School-Aged Children (5 – 12 years old): 10 to 11 hours
  • Tweens and Teens (12 – 18 years old): 8.5 to 9.25 hours

To learn more about how much sleep children should get, you can read the American Academy of Pediatrics Guide to Your Child’s Sleep: Birth Through Adolescence. This book was written by a medical authority on children’s health and contains lots of useful tips and reassuring advice for parents.

That being said, many people have reported that the American Academy of Pediatrics’ book is poorly organized, which makes it hard to find the information you need.

Many parents recommend Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems: New, Revised, and Expanded Edition (shown on the left).


More Resources on Sleep and Insomnia

For more information on how much sleep you should get or to learn more about sleep and insomnia, visit these pages: