How Many Hours of Sleep Should We Get Each Night? - Step To Health

How Many Hours of Sleep Should We Get Each Night?

How many hours of sleep should we get per day? It all depends on several factors. We'll take a closer look in this article.
How Many Hours of Sleep Should We Get Each Night?

Last update: 16 December, 2021

Some say that the right amount is 8 hours. Others say that seven is enough. However, how many hours of sleep should we get per day?

The ideal sleep time varies from person to person. The popular belief of seven or eight hours a day is unnecessary, at least not for everyone. Let’s see why.

Sleep: An important part of our life

There’s no doubt that we all need sleep, no matter our age, profession, or daily activities. The crux of the matter is how long is enough.

If we add up all the hours we sleep per year, it’s probably the activity we do the most of the largest amount of time in our life.

Besides, the rest of the things we do every day depend purely and exclusively on the rest we have. If we don’t sleep well, we can’t study, work, cook, etc.

According to popular belief, we should sleep eight hours a night, but this belief isn’t as beneficial as we may think, especially in some cases.

Let’s take a closer look.

horas debemos dormir

Why eight hours of sleep may not be right for you

Today, this idea is becoming increasingly obsolete as other issues are studied in more detail, such as the productivity levels of a person.

Remember: every person is different.

Daniel Kriple is one of the most prestigious sleep specialists in the world. He’s found that people who sleep between six and a half and seven and a half hours a day are happier and more productive. Also, he’s found sleeping eight hours or more is sometimes worse than sleeping only five.

It’s good to know that these figures may vary slightly from person to person. Not everyone needs the same amount of sleep to feel “restored.” It has a lot to do with genetics, physical build, and the tasks you do every day.

However, this doesn’t mean that someone on the go all day should sleep more, because maybe someone who spends their day working 8 hours on their computer actually straight needs it more.

The problem starts when we get less sleep than we need.

This is when experts believe that we can lose the ability to do certain tasks.

However, it seems that this is also a myth in some cases. A sleep-deprived person can sometimes work better than one who “respects” the stipulated number of hours.

The difference lies in the fact that the one who slept less will be less likely to regain concentration and focus.

Napping and productivity


More and more companies are deciding to offer their employees the option of taking a nap after (or during) lunchtime.

If a person takes a nap at around three o’clock in the afternoon – that is, when their work capacity is reduced – resting a little will add an hour and a half more to their high-performance time.

However, it’s also unnecessary to overdo it with the nap because otherwise it will be impossible to refocus. A perfect nap should not exceed 45 minutes, according to the Sleep Institute.

This habit will lead to a person being less tired, having a better mood, and being more efficient in any task.

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How many hours should we sleep according to our age?

Each age group has a specific need in terms of sleep (as well as in relation to food, exercise, health care, etc.). Let’s take a look.

1. Babies need about 17 hours of sleep

The smallest develop very fast and therefore need about 17 hours of sleep every day to continue this process.

At birth, the biological clock that allows dividing between the two cycles of day and night has not yet developed, which is why they may sleep more during the day than at night until the first six months.

In turn, babies alternate between periods of REM (rapid eye movements) and NREM (deep sleep) just like adults. However, toddlers tend to spend more time in the first phase, which is why it’s easier for them to wake up.

2. Toddlers

Bebé llorando antes de dormir.

This group includes children between 1 and 2 years old. They’re very active at this stage of their lives and need plenty of time to rest each day.

The average recommended by pediatricians is ten to thirteen hours a day.

Some parents believe that it is better to let them sleep all night “straight-through,” and others take short naps during the day. The cycle must be adapted to each family.

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3. Children

Those between 3 and 12 years old are the ones who suffer the most from nightmares.

They’re also the most active and are constantly learning. This makes them tired and makes them need to sleep more.

Sleep can vary between eight and eleven hours a day. As they get older, they need less time to recover from activities.

4. Teenagers need about nine hours of sleep

Teenagers need about nine hours of sleep, although most of them don’t get it for different reasons.

They often want to stay up late watching TV, social media, or playing video games, and then get up at noon. This is often only permissible during the holidays because otherwise they have to meet school schedules.

In addition, when puberty is reached, a greater amount of the hormone melatonin, which is related to sleep, is produced. This makes teenagers feel more tired than before.

It’s necessary to respect their schedules so they can get enough sleep.

5. Adults

Sueño reparador

The average person needs about eight hours of sleep. However, as we said before, this is very relative.

Some need less sleep (six to seven hours) and others more (nine).

You can “allow yourself” to sleep less one night or directly stay up, but the problem is that when this happens many times a week, there’s a very large sleep imbalance and does not allow you to perform various tasks.

6. The elderly

Contrary to popular belief, our need for sleep does not decrease with age. However, what happens is that after the age of 60, people have less deep sleep.

Therefore, it’s more likely to sleep only four hours a night, get up very early, etc.

Knowing this data, you can assess how many hours you should sleep according to your routines and habits. How many hours do you think you need to wake up rested?

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