How much sleep do you need by age?

There is a minimum amount of sleep needed to function effectively during the day. This benchmark is often said to be between 7-9 hours for most people, but the amount of sleep we really need varies by age. Our guide breaks down how much sleep you might need depending on your age bracket, and why this is important.

Age group Recommended
Newborns  (0-3 mths)
14-17 hours (including naps)
Infants   (4-11 mths)
12-15 hours (including naps)
Toddlers  (1-2 yrs)
11-14 hours (including naps)
Pre-schoolers  (3-5)
10-13 hours (including naps)
School-age   (6-13)
9-11 hours
Teenagers  (14-18)
8-10 hours
Adults   (18-64)
7-9 hours
Older adults  (65+)
7-8 hours

Recommended hours of sleep and why

How much sleep we actually achieve on an average night is often dictated by external factors. Our lifestyle, work or school commitments, and our physical or mental health may prevent us from getting a full night’s rest. However, the impacts of insufficient sleep may be immediately felt (such as poor concentration), or they may be more long-term, affecting your life and overall wellbeing.

According to Better Health, “staying awake for 24 hours leads to a reduced hand-to-eye coordination that is similar to having a blood alcohol content of 0.1.” Missing out on sleep is a significant cause of workplace injuries and accidents on the road.

Sleep deprivation can cause:

  • Weight gain
  • Mood changes
  • Lowered libido
  • Impaired memory
  • High blood pressure
  • Weakened immunity
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Poor balance and coordination
  • Increased risk of diabetes and heart disease

Sleep is vital to our physical and mental health, which is why we urge everyone to strive for the recommended amount of rest as regularly as possible.

Learn how much sleep is needed by age
Hours of sleep needed by children and infants

Sleep is one of the most important factors in childhood growth and development. Young children spend much more time asleep than older children and adults, and will need to nap regularly to get enough rest. 

Newborns (0-3 mths)

Newborns sleep in varying patterns throughout a 24-hour period. They typically require 14-17 hours of rest, including naps. They move between two sleep cycles, known as ‘active’ (moving around, jerking, suckling) and ‘quiet’ (laying still and breathing evenly).

Newborns do not have an established sense of day or night. Instead, they wake frequently to feed, often every few hours. Some will start to sleep through the night, while others will continue to wake repeatedly for the first few months of life, regardless of the time of day.

Infants (4-11 mths)

As babies grow, they develop a sense of day and night, and will start to experience more ‘deep’ sleep. Though they might continue to wake throughout the night, most babies will gradually adjust to sleeping longer at nighttime. They will still require naps during the day to reach a total of 12-15 hours of sleep.

Young child taking a nap

Toddlers (1-2 yrs)

After 12 months, babies sleep less during the day. They may still take a nap or two, as they need 11-14 hours of sleep, but the length of a typical nap is often shorter at this age than in previous milestones. The majority of a toddler’s sleep should now be occurring at night. Many toddlers will resist bedtime or wake up frequently, seeking comfort. These problems present most often around 18 months and typically improve with age.

Pre-schoolers (3-5)

Pre-school age children need 10-13 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. At this age, some young children are still likely to nap at least once during the day, but this varies from child to child. Many pre-schoolers stop scheduled naps altogether.

School-age (6-13)

By the time they start school, children should be sleeping between 9-11 hours. As with all developmental stages, school-age children will vary in their milestones, however younger children in this group will typically need more sleep than their older counterparts.

Hours of sleep needed by teenagers and adults

Teenagers (14-18)

As they grow closer to adulthood, teenagers need approximately 8-10 hours of rest, which is more reminiscent of adult sleep. One of the more noticeable changes at this age is a result of adolescent biology. Teenagers experience a change in natural rhythms and sleep cycles; they typically do not start to feel tired until late at night, and their bodies take longer to produce melatonin and fall asleep.

If you have concerns about your teenager sleeping late at night — or not getting enough sleep in general — then you may wish to read our article: How much sleep do teenagers need?

Adults (18-64)

Most adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep per night. This is why most sources recommend around 8 hours of sleep, as it is the average amount needed for the majority of the population. Regardless, it is important that you consider your personal needs and whether you are getting too little or too much sleep.

Older adults (65+)

As we grow older, our nightly sleep should number around 7-8 hours, only marginally less than that of younger adults. Changes in daily routines and physical or mental health at this age may interrupt sleep at night, leading to an increased number of naps during the day.

Woman looking at phone in bed

Tips on how to sleep better

The quality and quantity of your sleep will naturally fluctuate throughout life, but it is important to try and establish healthy sleep habits for effective, restorative rest.

There are some key actions you may wish to take in order to sleep better:

  • Adhere to a sleep schedule, where you go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning

  • Create a restful environment that is conducive to not only falling asleep, but staying asleep

  • Address napping habits and consider where you are napping too frequently or for too long

  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle including nutrition and exercise

  • Manage worries or mental health concerns wherever possible

For more details, please see our guide: How to get better sleep.

Are you getting enough sleep?

If you are concerned about the amount of sleep you are getting, or worried you may be experiencing sleep deprivation, it is best to speak with your GP or healthcare professional. As a guide, these are some signs that you may not be getting enough sleep.

  • You are consistently tired or sleepy
  • Your mood suffers from unusual moodiness or irritability
  • You tend to be forgetful or clumsy
  • You experience difficulty concentrating or focusing on tasks
  • You find it difficult to fall asleep at night, or you have the tendency to wake up multiple times at night

Sleep amount FAQs

Is 6 hours a night enough sleep?

While the amount of sleep you may need varies depending on age and lifestyle, most adults require 7-9 hours of sleep per night to feel refreshed and well-rested.

Is it better to sleep 7 or 8 hours?

Most adults require 7-9 hours of sleep per night in order to be refreshed and rested for the next day. Whether you prefer 7 or 8 hours is up to your body and your personal sleep needs. Consider which timeframe makes you feel the most well-rested.

How much sleep does a 70 year old need?

Adults over 65 years of age typically require 7-8 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. Physical changes at this age may result in lighter sleep patterns and interrupted sleep at night, leading to an increased desire for naps during the day.

At what age do you stop needing as much sleep?

The amount of sleep we need decreases significantly after childhood. Teenagers need 8-10 hours per night, while adults from the age of 18 up to 64 share a requirement for 7-9 hours per night, on average.

Can I survive on 5 hours of sleep?

While every individual has unique sleep habits and needs, studies show that a typical adult requires 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Getting 5 hours or less on a regular, sustained basis may lead to sleep deprivation and poor health, increased risk of accidents and poorer quality of life.