The amount of sleep one needs is variable depending on individual needs. Generally, 7 to 9 hours of sleep is recommended for adults, and even more for adolescents and children. Though the amount of sleep one needs isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer, there are certain best practices that adults should adhere to for optimal health.
Good Sleep for Good Health
According to Dr. Marishka Brown, a sleep expert at NIH, there is more to good sleep than just the hours spent in bed. Healthy sleep encompasses three major things: amount of sleep, quality of sleep, and consistency of sleep.
Adults should aim for 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep each night. They should also maintain a consistent sleep schedule, going to bed and getting up at comparable times each day. Poor sleep can lead to an array of physical and mental health problems such as depression, weight gain, and poor concentration.
Sleep Needs of Adolescents
Adolescents have different sleep needs than adults. They should aim for 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night. While adults should maintain their sleep schedule, adolescents should pay special attention to their sleep schedule due to the fluctuating nature of their hormones.
In addition to managing their hormones, adolescents should also be aware of the kind of content they are consuming. Watching a scary movie, reading an emotionally-driven article, or looking at bright screens right before bed can all disrupt their sleep schedule.
How to Know How Much Sleep You Need
It is difficult to determine exactly how much sleep one needs. However, Dr. Edward Pace-Schott, from Harvard Summer School and Harvard Medical School, recommends that people observe their own habits.
Pay attention to how much energy one has during the day. If one feels consistently lethargic and finds it difficult to concentrate or stay motivated, then it may be a sign that one is not getting enough sleep.
Sleep is important for overall health, but the amount of sleep one needs is not set in stone. Adults should aim for 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep each night, whereas adolescents should get 8 to 10 hours of sleep nightly. It is important to pay attention to one’s own habits to determine if they are getting enough restful sleep.