No matter your age, sleep is a crucial part of our mind and body’s development. From the minute we’re born up until our elder years, the amount of sleep we need to achieve the most benefits will change.
As we sleep, our bodies are hard at work repairing damage and restoring our energy so that we can perform our best the following day. Without reaching the recommended hours of sleep by age, you may begin to feel the effects of sleep deprivation which can include depression, weight gain, and heart disease.
The National Sleep Foundation provided new recommendations for sleep needed by age in 2015, in order to achieve the most developmental progress and health for body and mind. Beginning at newborns who need the most hours of sleep per age, the age groups then move up into our adult years when less rest is required.
Babies and Toddlers
Newborn babies spend most of their time asleep for the first few months, up to around 17 hours of each day. As their brains are still new and busy completing wiring and developing to the new world around them, this much sleep is required to help them grow. At this age, their sleep schedules are irregular as they are still adjusting to them, but are usually spent in two to four hour cycles.
Infants aged from four to 11 months should be sleeping between 12 to 15 hours per day, including naps during the day and a larger sleep at night. From there and until they’re around two years of age, this amount doesn’t change too much. Toddlers should rest from 11 to 14 hours per day to ensure they’re allowing their minds to develop.
By the time a child is two, they would have spent almost half of their life asleep. As sleep for babies affects their mental and physical development, this amount may seem like a lot but it’s absolutely essential to give them the best start in life.
Once children reach preschool years from between three and five years, they should still be aiming for 10 to 13 hours per day, including one short nap and a larger sleep at night. While the time may not be as important, it is crucial that children develop a regular and consistent sleep routine.
At school age, children should be no longer having a daytime nap and they will rest for roughly 9 to 11 hours each night. This will ensure they are completely rejuvenated for school the following day and able to soak up as much information as possible, as well as helping them to fend off possible illnesses such as colds and flu.
According to the Sleep for Kids website, there are many benefits for children in achieving a full night’s sleep. As they sleep, both their minds and bodies are growing and developing. With a well-rested mind, children are also able to concentrate better in class and learn new information.
Teenagers and Young Adults
When a child reaches their teenage years, their sleep schedules begin to resemble a grown adult’s as there’s no need for naps anymore. A solid eight to 10 hours each night is all they need until they reach 18. As a child is going through puberty at this stage, sleep is crucial in ensuring that their bodies and minds are growing sufficiently.
Once they reach young adulthood, the amount of sleep needed by age drops again to seven to nine hours which now matches the rest of the adult age group. As most of the developing and growing has occurred by now in the human body, the need for sleep decreases. Even though they still need this much sleep, teenagers are known for not getting enough rest each night which affects their concentration levels.
Adults and the Elderly
So, how many hours of sleep should an adult get once they’re finally out of their younger years? Again, this group is split into two separate ages; adults from 26 to 64 years, and then older adults from 65 upwards.
The first group of 26 to 64-year-olds should aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night. As this age group has now completed most of its development and learning, the need for a bigger sleep is no longer there.
As you reach 65 years old, this decreases even further to seven to eight hours of sleep per night. However, according to WebMD, this age group is the most likely to experience sleep conditions such as insomnia. Part of this is due to the increased likelihood of sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome which can interrupt your sleep cycles.
Reaching Your Sleep Requirements
The amount of sleep needed by age tends to decrease as we get older, thanks in part to our brains requiring less of the crucial development time needed by babies and children. To avoid sleep deprivation and its negative health effects, adults should aim for at least seven hours of sleep per night.
For newborns and small children, sleep can be difficult to achieve. Bear in mind, though, that babies will eventually catch up on the sleep that is needed and will learn to desire it as part of their routine. All we can do as adults is ensure they have a safe and comfortable sleeping environment at all times.
If you’re having problems achieving the sleep requirements by age for your group as an adult, there are many helpful natural remedies available. Whether you want to try meditation, essential oils, or light exercise, there should be an effective way to achieve rest without needing to reach for over the counter medications.