It seems like a basic question: How much sleep do I need? But the truth — like with many “facts” we hear, is that there’s not always such a cut and dried answer.
The National Sleep Foundation advises that healthy adults need between seven and nine hours per night; this is why you often hear that eight hours is the recommended amount. People over 65 should also get seven to eight hours per night.
“Knowing the general recommendations for how much sleep you need is a first step,” it says on the organization’s website. “Then it’s important to reflect on your individual needs based on factors like your activity level and overall health.”
However, when it comes to kids, things get confusing. The foundation says that babies, young children, and teens need even more rest to enable their growth and development, but how much is that?
Poor Sleep in Kids
Kids aren’t getting enough Zs in the night, particularly teens. The American Academy of Pediatrics called the issue of tired teens a “public health epidemic,” and one that, if not curbed, can have devastating economic consequences.
“Poor sleep can lead to cognitive and behavioral consequences later in life such as inattentiveness, over-activity, emotional instability, and poor academic performance. Inconsistent sleep schedules and too little sleep are known to cause worse grades, irritability, depression, and an increase in risk-taking activities,” Dr. Sonal Malhotra, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics-Pulmonary at Baylor College of Medicine, tells Parentology.
So, How Much Do You Really Need?
We turned to the experts at Medical News Minute to dig up the scientific info on the topic. If you’re like us, the answers may surprise you.