Sleep Quantity: How Much is Enough?

Jun 1, 2022 | Blog, Health

“… sleep deprivation is an illegal torture method outlawed by the Geneva Convention and international courts, but most of us do it to ourselves.”

Ryan Hurd, Dream Like a Boss: Sleep Better, Dream More, and Wake Up to What Matters Most

Sleep is vital to our mental and physical well-being. It helps us regulate our moods, fortify our memories, learn new things, and make better decisions. These are just a few of the processes sleep plays an advantageous role in. Poor sleep, on the other hand, can lead to a greater risk of disease, weight gain, and depression. Sleep is necessary at every age, but just how much do you need, exactly?

What is Sleep Quantity?

Sleep quantity is defined as the number of hours of sleep you get each night. You have probably heard that you should be sleeping around seven to eight hours every night. This may be true, but it depends on your age. Our sleep needs evolve as we get older. Keep reading to see how much is right for you!

Sleep through the Ages

The following sleep recommendations are separated into nine groups. These ranges are meant for healthy individuals and in some cases, sleeping more or less than what is recommended could be acceptable depending on the person.

Figure 1. The sleep recommendations are separated by age ranges.1

Who Created the Recommendations for Sleep Quantity?

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and Sleep Research Society (SRS) organized a panel of 15 experts in sleep medicine.2The panel evaluated 5,314 scientific articles about sleep quantity and how it relates to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, pain, and depression.2 After several rounds of voting, the panel narrowed down the amount of sleep needed at every age. The process took over 12 months to complete and ended with a meeting held in 2015 in Chicago, Illinois.2 Although other organizations have released their own recommendations, generally they all closely coincide.

Six Tips to Improve Sleep Quantity

1.    Start Exercising Regularly

If you are not currently devoting time to an exercise routine, now is the time to start. Whether you enjoy weightlifting, cardio, or something else, it does not matter so long as you are having fun and breaking a sweat regularly. Recent research has suggested that poor sleep may lead to reduced activity levels much in the same way that low activity contributes to poor sleep.3 To increase your chances of a good night’s sleep, make fitting in exercise a priority.

2.    Monitor Your Sleep

Poor sleep affects your well-being and job performance. If you are struggling, see if your employer offers sleep benefits. Using a medical-grade sleep monitor such as the SomnoRing® is a great way to keep tabs on your sleep efficiency. If you feel that something is wrong, make an appointment with your doctor and see if sleep testing could be right for you.

3.    Block Out the Light

Blue light from your electronic devices is not the only sleep-disrupting culprit you have to worry about. If you have an irregular sleep schedule due to work, you might want to purchase some heavy-duty blacklight curtains to help your body adjust to sleeping at odd hours.

4.    Get into a Routine

Having a consistent sleep routine goes a long way toward helping your body adjust for bedtime each night. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day (yes, even on weekends) has been associated with better sleep.4

5.    Cut Caffeine

It is easy to get caught up in drinking cup after cup of coffee especially when you are exhausted. However, it is best practice to only drink caffeine in the mid-to-late morning as it takes around 10 hours for caffeine to completely leave your system.5 If you drink coffee too late in the day, you run the risk of disrupting your sleep.

6.    Check Your Mattress

Nothing kills a good night’s sleep like an uncomfortable mattress. Give yourself the best chance of sleeping well and invest in a mattress tailored to you. If buying a brand new mattress is not feasible financially, a mattress topper could be a great alternative. Now that you have your mattress sorted out, make sure your bedding is just as comfortable.

While the amount of sleep you get is important, it is just one small piece of the puzzle. Somnology’s SomnoScore looks at the big picture, taking a variety of sleep metrics into account. Although some aspects of your sleep might be functioning well, it is important to continuously monitor to catch those that might not be. Somnology’s comprehensive sleep care program and platform can be used to do just that. After all, your sleep health is too important to leave up to chance. To learn more about the effects of sleep, continue reading our blog or subscribe to our newsletter.