Sleep Requirements By Age-How much sleep do we need?

how much sleep do we need

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From birth to death, many things change, including our sleep requirements. Both the nature of the sleep and the time spent asleep can change quite drastically, especially in our baby years. It’s important we know what the sleep requirements are at any particular age, so we can determine whether any problems are creeping into our family’s lives. Early warning of upcoming problems is essential in most disorder and sleep disorder is no different.

In this article you will be able to find out how much sleep each age group needs and common problems that could become the cause of any sleep problems.

Sleep Requirements by age-How much sleep do I need?

Below is a table showing the average amount of sleep required for each age group:

 AgeAverage hours sleep required
 0-2 months12 – 18 hours
 3-11 months14-15 hours
 1-3 years12-14 hours
 3-5 years11-13 hours
 5-10 years10-11 hours
 10-17 years8.5-9.5 hours
 Adults (inc old age)7-9 hours

These numbers are average, so should only be used as a guideline. Of course, we all need different amounts of sleep, whatever our age, but in general, these are the figures you should first consider.

Below are some tips and advice for tricky age sleep problems.

Requirements for a Babies Sleep

sleep requirements by age



Newborn babies need more sleep than any other group, and regularly spend 16-18 hours of sleep per day.

They spend almost 50% of their sleep in REM stage, compared to 25% for adults and pass directly into it as soon as they fall asleep. REM is said to aid the process of information gained while awake. Obviously a baby has an awful lot of info to take in and this maybe why they sleep for so long.

Once their body clock kicks in, a regular routine can be developed and night-time feeds reduced until eventually stopped.

The number of hours asleep gradually reduced as they age. Daytime naps will also reduce before stopping altogether by 3-4 years

Requirements for a Toddlers Sleep

sleep requirements by age


It’s important to teach good sleeping habits from an early age. Regular timing of sleep, optimising their sleep environment and encouragement of good sleep habits provides them with the best possible start and prevents problems in the long and short-term.

One of the most common problems for toddlers is waking up during the night seeking attention. If this happens, try to not give too much attention as this encourages them to continue doing it. Encourage them to sleep in their own bed and to go to sleep without you. This sets up the ground rules that they need to get used to the routine of sleeping on their own. Providing your child with a cuddly toy creates what’s called a transitional object that provides them with emotional support and helps them go back to sleep on their own.

As with most ages, encourage them to only go to bed when they are sleepy, rather than at a set time as sometimes sending them to bed too early causes them to clash with their forbidden zone (a natural peak in alertness that occurs just before they feel sleepy)

Requirements for a Teenagers Sleep

sleep requirements for teenager


We all know that your teenage years can be complicated. Hormones are raging all over the place as puberty approaches. Your body clock changes and you’ll have natural tendency to wake up later in the morning and go to sleep much later in the evening.

This can easily lead to your sleep patterns getting pushed forward until you can no longer sleep until the early hours of the morning. This is called “delayed sleep phase syndrome”. Teenagers also have the additional problem of “socializing” with their friends. This pushes the sleep pattern into even later stages and a vicious circle ensues, making it increasingly difficult to wake up at the right time for early classes without oversleeping or feeling sleep deprived.

By simply following good sleep habits, you can get your sleep pattern back on track even if you were severely affected previously. Check out our blog post “9 quick fixes” to understand more.

Requirements for Adult & Old Age Sleep

how much sleep do e need?


Your quality of sleep tends to reduce as you get older. I have certainly found this to be the case as my sleep went to pieces aged 50. You tend to spend less time in deep sleep which gives you a tendency to wake up several times during the night.

Because of this, it can be beneficial to take naps during the day. This is controversial I know and the just is still out on whether it creates more or less problems to your sleep patterns. All I can say, is that if I haven’t had a very good night and feel like a nap, I will generally take one. After that, I usually feel better, although it’s important to make them short naps of no more than 20 mins.

It;’s quite common for older adults to start worrying about how much sleep they are getting, often watching the clock counting down the hours till the alarm goes off. This worry can actually be a cause of insomnia, so it’s always a good idea to try the relaxation tricks we discuss in previous articles.

This worry can also lead to the use of sleeping pills. I have discussed the use of sleeping pills in previous articles but just a quick mention here. I do still use them very rarely. Sometimes, I have no idea why, my sleep just goes to pieces and no matter what I try, I juts can’t get to sleep. You will no doubt be quite familiar with how I feel. I then take half a tablet and that seems to work for me for about 4-5 hours. I’m not happy about it but has it’s only once in a blue moon I can live with it. I tell you guys this has I don’t want people to fret about taking them. If you need to, you need to, try not to obviously but don’t worry too much if you do now and then.

Other medication can also be harmful to sleep, so check the info, see if it says that taking those tablets might give you Insomnia, or ask your healthcare provider.

Final Thoughts

Each age group has its own unique blend of problems. Understanding these problems gives us an edge in the battle against sleep deprivation/insomnia problems.