How Much Sleep Should You Get Based On Your Age?

We are often told about the importance of sleep, but it can be confusing to know exactly how much sleep we really need to be getting. How much sleep you need at night will depend largely on your age (via Mindbodygreen). While newborns need a lot of sleep each night, the recommended number gradually gets lower as you reach adulthood. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, all adults should be getting at least seven hours of sleep each night. Adults who sleep less than that are at a higher risk of negative health effects. There is also no upper limit on the amount of sleep that an adult should get. This number should be based on how well-rested you feel after you wake up.

According to the CDC, newborns should get 14 to 17 hours of sleep each night, infants should get 12 to 16 hours each night, and toddlers should get 11 to 14 hours each night. Preschool-aged children should get 10 to 13 hours of sleep each night, school-aged children should get 9 to 12 hours of sleep each night, and teenagers should get 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night. Good quality sleep is just as important as the number of hours you are sleeping. If you are meeting these hourly goals but still feel tired during the day, you are probably not sleeping very well.

What happens while we sleep?

Why is sleep so important, anyway? Sleep is crucial for our health and affects our bodies and minds in many ways (via Health). Sleep allows our bodies and brains to rest and recharge after a long day at work. This period of time is the ultimate recharging period for our immune systems (via The Sleep Foundation). While we sleep, our immune systems release small proteins called cytokines that fight infection, inflammation, stress, and trauma. Cytokines are both produced and released during sleep, meaning a lack of rest can put your body at a big disadvantage against diseases and bacteria. Infection-fighting antibodies are also released when we sleep and the amount is reduced when we don't get enough sleep.

Sleep also allows our brains to process information. Instead of taking a break, our brains use this time to focus on processing all the information they have accumulated during the day by sorting everything out and consolidating information into short-term and long-term memory (via Psychology Today). Many other important functions happen during this time period, so it is vital that we do our best to get enough rest each night.