Seunga (Jasmine) Han, PharmD Student
The Magic Number
People say that 8 hours is the ideal amount of sleep you need each night. BUT, is this actually the case? What about people who feel well-rested with 5 hours of sleep? Why do others need 9 hours?
How much sleep do we really need?
National Sleep Foundation (NSF)
The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) conducted a study that looked into the amount of sleep people need, and this study concluded that the ideal number of hours of sleep we need is highly individualized. Factors that can affect the amount of sleep we need include our age and overall health. Nonetheless, individuals who regularly sleep in amounts outside the normal range may compromise their health and well-being, which could result in serious health problems.
The following is a general guideline created by expert panelists that outlines sleep recommendations for the generation population based on age.
As you can see, our need for sleep gradually decreases as we age. For young adults between 18-64 years old, it’s recommended to get around 7-9 hours each night, but as little as 6 hours, or as much as 10 hours, may also be appropriate. As we hit age 65 and over, our sleep needs begin to decrease to 7-8 hours a night. What’s important recognize is that these recommendations are by no means meant to apply to everyone equally.
We’re all unique and, as such, sleep needs vary from person-to-person and can even change from day-to-day.
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- Hirshkowitz, M., Whiton, K., Albert, S. M., Alessi, C., Bruni, O., Doncarlos, L., . . . Hillard, P. J. (2015). National Sleep Foundation’s sleep time duration recommendations: Methodology and results summary. Sleep Health, 1(1), 40-43. doi:10.1016/j.sleh.2014.12.010
- Healthy Sleep Tips. (n.d.). Retrieved September 27, 2018, from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-tools-tips/healthy-sleep-tips