How much sleep do I need?

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How much sleep do I need?

“How much sleep do I need?” Ask around and the likelihood is that you’ll come back with several different answers. The fact of the matter is that the idea of recommended hours of sleep is not a one-size-fits-all concept. That said, the good news is that there are ways that you can start to figure out the healthy amount of  sleep for you. “How much sleep do I need?”is one of the questions that we get asked the most at Dreem, so we decided to answer it once and for all. Let’s get started! 


How much sleep do I need? Well, it depends who’s asking

The hours of sleep needed tend to vary slightly from person to person. Some people can get by on 6 hours a night, while others need a full nine. 

how much sleep do i need

Recommended hours of sleep by age 

Our sleep patterns and needs evolve with age (we don’t say “slept like a baby” for nothing!). The most comprehensive guide to respecting these needs are the recommendations made by National Sleep Foundation in collaboration with experts from sleep, anatomy and physiology, as well as pediatrics, neurology, gerontology and gynecology. 

National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep Duration Recommendations:

Age Recommended  May be appropriate Not recommended
(0-3 months)
14-17 hours 11-13 hours
18-19 hours
Less than 11 hours
More than 19 hours
(4-11 months) 
12-15 hours 10-11 hours 
16-18 hours 
Less than 10 hours 
More than 18 hours
(1-2 years)
11-14 hours 9-10 hours 
15-16 hours
Less than 9 hours 
More than 16 hours
(3-5 years)
10-13 hours 8-9 hours
14 hours
Less than 8 hours
More than 14 hours
School-age children
(6-13 years) 
9-11 hours 7-8 hours
12 hours
Less than 7 hours
More than 12 hours 
(14-17 years)
8-10 hours 7 hours
11 hours 
Less than 7 hours 
More than 11 hours
Young adults
(18- 25 years)  
7-9 hours 6 hours
10-11 hours
Less than 6 hours 
More than 10 hours
(26-64 years)
7-9 hours 6 hours
10 hours
Less than 6 hours 
More than 10 hours
Older adults
(64 years plus) 
7-8 hours 5-6 hours 
9 hours
Less than 5 hours 
More than 6 hours


On average, 50% of us sleep less than these recommendations, a significant number when you take into account the long-term health risks of  sleep deprivation.  Even in the short-term, sleep deprivation can have a negative impact on cognitive function. Remember there’s a difference between the hours needed to survive and the hours needed to thrive! 


Hours of sleep: men vs. women 

Research at the U.K. Sleep Research Center has shown that women need more sleep than men. Around 20 minutes more to be exact. The research suggest that multitasking may be the reason why- women tend to multitask more, and in doing so use more that of their brains and so they need more sleep to recuperate this used-up energy during the day. 

Some theorize that this greater need for sleep is linked to the menstrual cycle. An interesting theory perhaps when taking into account the disruptive role the menopause can have on sleep.

Last but not least, sleep needs also change during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester where sleepiness is due to an increase in progesterone and the metabolic changes happening in the body. 


How much sleep do I need? Finding your magic number

how much sleep do i need

With day-to-day stress, busy work schedules, social calendars and if we’re honest, streaming services, life can sometimes get in the way of getting the sleep you need. That’s why the best time to calculate how much sleep you need is on vacation:

Week 1: Recuperation
Lie-ins, and naps: your first week is about recuperating as much as you can.

Week 2: Go with the flow
Now that you’ve reimbursed your sleep debt, forget your watch and time completely. Allow your body to self-regulate to know when to go to sleep and when to wake up. As the days go by, you’ll start to discover how many hours of sleep you need.

Bonus tip: Keep a journal
A sleep journal is a great way to figure out your sleep needs Keep a note of your bedtimes, wake-up times and nap lengths etc. This information will help you figure out your sleep needs and evaluate your fitness level during the day.

The next step is to figure out your perfect bedtime. And, we have a guide to help you do just that: When should I go to bed?


How much sleep do I need? Way more than I’m getting right now!

how much sleep do i need

Maybe you’ve read up to here with increasing frustration- you know exactly how much sleep you’re meant to be getting, and that however much you try you can’t change the fact you’re not getting enough. 

Most experts agree that sleep debt can be set right by respecting a regular sleep routine, rather than the fast and famine week/weekend model that some people slip into. If you’re struggling with long-term sleep debt, try adding an extra hour or two of sleep with no alarm clock until you start to sleep less, and start to sleep the amount you need. 

Here are a few things you can explore to get you started: 

So what if it’s more than just sleep debt? This isn’t a lifestyle problem. You’ve tried a ton of different things and you still can’t sleep or you feel exhausted during the day despite sleeping.  In either case, if in doubt, talk to your doctor.  

How Dreem can help

Dreem is a headband and app solution that helps you understand and improve your sleep by combining ultra precise sleep measurement with detailed reports and personalized coaching programs. From help resolving problems like persistent difficulty falling/staying asleep to pertinent tips on optimizing your sleep for a healthier, happier you. “How much sleep do I need?” Don’t worry about it- Dreem’s got your back,  helping  you get the sleep you need, night after night. 



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