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How much sleep do we REALLY need?

According to the National Sleep Foundation, our daily sleep requirements change as we age. This is due to physical and mental development, diverse responsibilities, and changing environments. 

Let’s take a detailed look at how much sleep we really need according to our age and explore the factors that determine it.


Newborns, Infants and Toddlers require more sleep than any other age group. Here is a breakdown of their requirements:

  1. Newborn (0- 3 months of age) babies require 14- 17 hours of sleep every day. This is often broken up into sleep cycles of 4-7 hours.

  2. Infants (4-11 months of age) need 12- 15 hours. Again, this is often achieved through smaller segments of sleep over the course of 24 hours.

  3. Toddlers (1-2 years old) require 11- 14 hours of sleep. As they near pre-school age, most of their hours are fulfilled through large chunks of sleep during the night. The last few hours are supplemented through afternoon naps for most babies this age.


Pre-school and School aged children begin to function on one large sleep each day to adapt to their changing timetable.

  1. Pre-school-aged children (3- 5 years) need a good 10- 13 hour sleep every night to support their development as they approach school.

  2. School-aged children (6-13 years) need to supplement their learning and physical growth with 9- 11 hours of sleep.


Despite the long-standing belief that many Teenagers (aged 14- 17) sleep more than they need to, we now know that they do require 8- 10 hours of revitalising sleep every day. With the physical changes and added responsibility that this age introduces, is it really surprising?


Young (18- 25) and full Adults (26- 64) both need 7- 9 hours of sleep to function during work and/or study. This can vary even further depending on the level of work or study required, and possible transitions into ‘family life’.


Elderly persons are defined in age at 65 years and over. They technically require the least sleep each night; recommended hours each night fall to 7- 8. Unfortunately it is common that this is not achieved.

Age GroupAge RangeRecommended Hours (Daily)Newborn0-3 months old14-17 hoursInfant4-11 months old12-15 hoursToddler1-2 years old11-14 hoursPreschool3-5 years old10-13 hoursSchool-age6-13 years old9-11 hoursTeen14-17 years old8-10 hoursYoung Adult18-25 years old7-9 hoursAdult26-64 years old7-9 hoursOlder Adult65 or more years old7-8 hours

Everybody needs the right amount of sleep for their age group each night. For even more information, check out this website!

I hope you enjoyed reading about the hourly sleep requirements of different age groups! Join us next time for more information on maintaining a healthy sleep cycle.

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