How Much Sleep Do You Need by Age and Gender?

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How Much Sleep Do You Need by Age and Gender?

Do you ever wonder about your sleep schedule? When it comes to planning a good day with healthy habits, we think about healthy eating, physical exercises but more often than not we skip giving importance to sleep. Sleep in proportion to any activity we do takes most of our time. Thus, it is important that we maintain a good record of our sleeping habits and understand our sleeping needs.

Most people have experienced days where it seems like no amount of coffee can outweigh the exhaustion of poor sleep. Thankfully, an abundance of research has provided insight into how much sleep we really need? Let’s explore what science has uncovered about maximizing our zzz’s.

It has become a common concern for people to decide how much sleep they need. But the answer is not in one word. Yes! Different people will have different sleeping hour needs depending upon their age, gender and daily schedule.

Now, onto the million-dollar question: how much sleep do you need? Well, the short answer is: it depends. But before you start panicking, let me break it down for you.
According to the wise folks at the National Sleep Foundation, the amount of sleep you need varies depending on a bunch of factors, including your age, genetics, and lifestyle. But fear not, my sleep-deprived friends, because we are here to guide you through the maze of sleep science.
From the recommended 7-9 hours for adults to the 9-11 hours for teenagers, finding your sweet spot may take some trial and error, but with a little patience and perseverance, you’ll be snoozing like a pro in no time.

Sleeping Needs According To Age And Gender

Based on the data I collected from the National Sleep Foundation, we will learn about the sleeping needs among different age groups.  It was difficult to get an absolute answer as the hours would range depending upon gender and one’s daily schedule as well.


Infants have polyphasic sleep habits, in total of 24 hours it is important for an infant to get 14-17 hours of sleep. They generally sleep from 2.5 to 4 hours at once, and their sleep duration is distributed throughout the day. It is only when they turn 10-12 months old, they start sleeping more at night.

School going Children

It is toughest to get these children to sleep, I remember my childhood I would just play all day with my toys. I hated naps. Every time I was taken to sleep, I would just sneak out to play. 🤭 Such children make it difficult to recognize whether they are getting enough sleep or having any sleep disorders.  Although it is important for them to get a sound sleep of 9-11 hours.


This is the time when most of the teenagers turn into a night owl. They would rather sleep late in the morning than going to bed early but school timing creates a break in their sleep requirements. Teenagers generally don’t get enough sleep and they try to make up for it on weekends. 

There is just so much in a day to do from school assignments to hanging out with friends. Different teens might have different needs for sleep timing but it is advisable to get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep so they remain competent and active without harming their health. Although a max of 10 hours sleep wouldn’t harm them either.


As we age our sleep requirements reduce but quality of sleep always matters. Getting enough sleep for adults isn’t an easy task either, they might have far more complex reasons that are becoming a hindrance in their sleep, be it work or family stress, lack of active physical exercise, too much consumption of caffeine, relationship with blue-light emitting devices right before bed, etc.

For an adult it is very crucial that they get 7-8 hours of sound sleep, as their life is filled with responsibilities and work, not having enough sleep would affect a person both personally and professionally.

Above Adults

Senior adults develop a nap habit throughout the day, mostly because they don’t get a sound sleep during the night time given the medical conditions. Many seniors take medications that might affect their sleep quality.  Also, seniors tend to have a light sleep that causes sleep fragmentation – waking up at night. For a healthy life it is advisable for seniors to take a sound sleep of 7-8 hours.


In the time when the world is trying to reach the balance of equality, women don’t get the burden of being multi-tasking off them easily .Women in most cases have a busier schedule which means they would need more sleep (on an average an addition of 30mins) as compared to a male of same age given less stress and work.

One more reason is their monthly cycle, that creates a need for more sleep, in women. In a similar context a pregnant woman would require more sleep especially in the first trimester.

Deep Dive into Sleep Phases:

When we talk about sleep phases, we’re referring to the different stages of sleep that your body goes through while you’re catching those Z’s. These phases are typically categorized into light sleep, deep sleep, and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.

Light sleep is the initial stage of sleep where you’re still relatively easy to wake up. Your body starts to relax, and your brain waves slow down.

Deep sleep is where the real magic happens – this is when your body does most of its repair work, like muscle growth and tissue repair. It’s also the hardest stage to wake up from.

REM sleep is where dreams occur, and your brain becomes more active. It’s called REM because your eyes move rapidly behind your closed eyelids.

So, each phase serves its purpose in ensuring you get the restorative sleep you need to feel refreshed and ready for the day ahead.

Sleep Needs Across the Lifespan:

Now, let’s talk about the elephant in the room: age. Yep, turns out, that how much sleep you need changes as you journey through life. From the sleep-hungry days of infancy, where little ones need a whopping 14-17 hours of sleep per day, to the sleep-deprived nights of adolescence, where teenagers still require 7-11 hours to function at their best. 

Adults function best with 7-10 hours. So, whether you’re a newborn, a toddler, a teenager, or a full-fledged adult, there’s a magic number of hours that’ll keep you feeling like the sleep royalty you were meant to be. And guess what? It’s not just about the quantity; quality matters too.

Quality vs. Quantity:

Alright, time for a little reality check: it’s not just about how many hours you spend in dreamland – it’s also about the quality of those Zzz’s. You see, your body needs both quantity and quality when it comes to sleep. 

From the restorative powers of deep sleep to the brain-boosting benefits of REM sleep, there’s a lot more to a good night’s rest than meets the eye. So, next time you find yourself sacrificing sleep for Netflix binges or late-night Instagram scrolls, remember: your body deserves better.

Factors Affecting Sleep Quality:

Now, let’s talk about the not-so-fun stuff: the things that wreak havoc on your sleep quality. From stress to caffeine to that extra glass of wine before bed, there are a million and one things that can sabotage your quest for quality shut-eye. But fear not, my weary friends, because knowledge is power. 

By identifying and addressing the things that disrupt your sleep, you can reclaim your rightful place as the master of your sleep kingdom.

Can You Catch Up on Sleep?

Ah, the age-old question: can you catch up on lost sleep? Well, my friends, I hate to burst your bubble, but the answer is a resounding no. You see, your body operates on its internal clock, and disrupting that delicate balance can have serious consequences. 

So, next time you find yourself burning the midnight oil, remember: there’s no substitute for a good night’s rest.

Risks of Sleep Deprivation:

Last but not least, let’s talk about the elephant in the room: the risks of sleep deprivation. From physical health issues like obesity and heart disease to mental health issues like depression and anxiety, inadequate sleep can wreak havoc on your body and mind. 

So, my friends, let’s make a pact to prioritize sleep and give our bodies the rest and rejuvenation they deserve.

The Concept Of Sleep Debt 🤑

People with a busy schedule during the weekdays or on certain days tend to make it up by sleeping on weekends or when they have enough time. This is like you keep the sleep due and pay it off by naps later. In a short term this may be effective but might not give promising results when the sleep is long due. A study done by Penn Medicine shows how chronic sleep  deprivation leads to loss of neurons affecting your cognition. Also sleep debts hinder your circadian rhythm. For a healthy sleep schedule, it is important that you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.

For an easy summary I have presented the recommended hours of sleep according to age group below based on the data of the National Sleep Foundation.

NEW BORN0-3 months14-17
INFANT4-12 months12-16
TODDLERS1-2 years11-14
PRESCHOOL3-5 years10-13
SCHOOL GOING6-13 years9-12
TEENAGERS14-17 years8-10
ADULT18-60 years7-8
SENIOR60 years and older8-9

Here Are Also Some Faqs Related To Sleep Schedule:

How much sleep do you need for a night shift? 😪

While you are working in night shifts you would still need 7-9 hours of sleep to remain healthy and focused but this can be broken down into parts throughout the day, also additionally try to maintain a strict schedule of dozing off and waking up.

How much sleep do you need in winter?🥶

Sleeping needs might not really change for you during winters, it might be the coziness that makes you wanna sleep more. According to the National Sleep Foundation, healthy adults might sleep 1.75 to 2.5 hours more during winter as stated by Dr.Carleara Weiss.

How much sleep do you need before an exam?🤓

Sleep really can affect how well one performs in exams. Students, generally teens, tend to stay up late at night to study for exams, but it is important to note that one must get a minimum of 6 hours of sleep before exams.


And there you have it, folks – the ins and outs of the wonderful world of sleep. From the importance of quality shut-eye to the risks of sleep deprivation, there’s a lot more to sleep than meets the eye. So, next time you find yourself burning the midnight oil, remember: that your body deserves better.

So, here’s to prioritizing sleep and waking up feeling like the sleep royalty you were meant to be. Sleep tight, my friends!

I hope all your queries have been answered, keep reading to learn more😚

Ayush, the youthful bard, wields words with a passion, crafting tales that dance with imagination and fervor. Connect with him on LinkedIn.