Sleep, glorious, sleep. Being able to sleep for 8 hours at night feels like a dream come true because it’s really not that easy. You have to get to bed at a certain time and fall asleep within a certain time frame to make sure you’re getting enough shut-eye to feel like you can actually function the next day.
However, even if you feel relatively okay, you might not be getting enough sleep as all of us need a certain amount of sleep depending on our age. The Sleep experts at Bed Kingdom have revealed how many hours of sleep we need – and you might be surprised by the answers.
How much sleep do I need to avoid being sleep deprived?
This varies on your age:
Newborns (0 to 3 months): Between 14 and 17 hours of sleep
Infants (4 to 11 months): Between 12 and 15 hours of sleep
Toddlers (1 to 2 years): 11 to 14 hours of sleep
Pre-school (3 to 5 years): 10 to 13 hours of sleep
Children (6 to 13 years): 9 to 11 hours of sleep
Teenagers (14 to 17 years): 8 to 10 hours of sleep
Adults (18 to 64 years): 7 to 9 hours of sleep
Older adults (65+ years): 7 to 8 hours of sleep
So what happens if we don’t get that amount of sleep at night? Can taking a nap actually help?
Does napping make up for lost sleep?
Napping for brief periods may boost your energy levels and improve your focus. The sleep experts suggest being smart about how you nap.
Don’t sleep longer than 30 minutes—you want to avoid slipping into the REM cycle, which can cause sleep inertia. Also, avoid napping after 3 p.m. This could make it harder for you to fall asleep at night.
So how can you make sure you’re getting enough sleep at night?
How can I achieve better sleep?
Establish a sleep schedule
Setting a bedtime may seem childish, but in reality, it works. A set sleep and wake time makes it easier to fall asleep at night and wake in the morning. Your body will adjust to the rhythm, so when it’s time for bed, you may automatically start to feel sleepy. It’s just as important to maintain this schedule on the weekends too.
Bodies respond positively to these consistent rhythms. It may be tempting to sleep in for a few hours, but this can throw off your body. Plus, if you’re getting the right amount of sleep, you likely do not need that extra time.
Avoid heavy meals
Avoiding heavy meals and snacking may be able to improve your sleep. Heavy meals take longer to digest. When it’s time for bed, your body may be focused on digesting, making it harder to fall asleep. The best time to eat dinner is between 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., allowing your body time to digest your meal.
Keep your bedroom dark
Your body’s sleep-wake cycle is influenced by melatonin. Your body is continually producing melatonin. However, production is lowest during the day and strongest at night. That’s because the more light you’re exposed to, the less melatonin there is in your body.
Keeping your bedroom dark induces sleep. Any light exposure could reduce melatonin levels and make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. Alternatively, if you can’t make your bedroom dark, a sleep mask can be effective.
Avoid your phone or laptop
This is a very hard rule, as we all climb into bed and start scrolling through our phones, checking on messages, and browsing social media sites. This may seem like a relaxing activity to help you sleep, but it’s the exact opposite.
When you’re using any electronic device (TV, tablet, computer, or smartphone), you’re exposing yourself to blue light. Blue light tricks your brain into thinking it’s still daytime, halting the melatonin production and making it harder to fall asleep. Try to avoid any electronic devices for an hour or two before bed. If you need to scroll through your phone, use your night settings or the apps that filter out blue light.