Recommended Hours of Sleep – How much sleep do you need?

Getting enough sleep is important if you want to function at your best and not suffer from sleep deprivation. This article covers the recommended hours of sleep for all ages. Find out how much sleep you really need and how you can sleep less and still feel wide awake and alert during the day.

Recommended Hours of Sleep for Adults

recommended hours of sleepThe National Sleep Foundation gives a ballpark figure of 7 to 9 hours. There’s no exact agreed amount of recommended sleep that adults need. Different people need different amounts. To work out exactly how much sleep someone needs you need to take into account their genetics and their Sleep quality.

Here are the average number of hours people say they need each night categorized by country, taken from the International Bedroom Poll:

CountryAverage hours sleep needed to function best
United States7 hours 13 minutes
United Kingdom7 hours 20 minutes
Canada7 hours 22 minutes
Mexico8 hours 15 minutes
Germany7 hours 31 minutes
Japan6 hours 58 minutes


People tend to underestimate how much sleep they need, so take these figures with a pinch of salt. There are also differing social attitudes concerning sleep to take into account. But the general figure of 7 to 8 hours of sleep reported here doesn’t seem too far off the mark.

Recommended Hours of Sleep for Children

Below are the NHS recommended hours of sleep for babies all the way up to teenagers:

AgeRecommended night-time sleepRecommended daytime sleep
1 week8.5 hours8 hours
4 weeks8.75 hours6.75 hours
3 months10 hours5 months
6 months10 hours4 hours
9 months11.25 hours2.75 hours
12 months11.5 hours2.5 hours
2 years11.75 hours1.25 hours
3 years11 hours1 hour
4 years11.5 hours
5 years11 hours
6 years10.75 hours
7 years10.5 hours
8 years10.25 hours
9 years10 hours
10 years9.75 hours
11 years9.5 hours
12 years9.25 hours
13 years9.25 hours
14 years9 hours
15 years8.75 hours
16 years8.5 hours


The amount of sleep children need reduces as they grow up. Daytime naps should be gently phased out by the ages of 3 to 4.

Note that teenagers need much more sleep than adults. In addition, their body clocks are wired to stay up later and therefore sleep in later. This behavior is often misunderstood for them being lazy but they’re often just trying to get the sleep they need.

How to Reduce your Recommended Hours of Sleep

The amount of sleep you need is set in your DNA. It’s not possible to train yourself to need less sleep. It is however possible to get more sleep in less time. You can do this by improving your:

  • Sleep efficiency – The time spent in bed vs. time spent asleep. By learning how to fall asleep fast, you can improve your sleep efficiency and spend less time in bed as a result.

  • Sleep quality – The amount of sleep you spend in deep sleep. The deeper your sleep, the better sleep quality you’ll have, the less time you need to spend sleeping

There’s such a thing as long sleepers and short sleepers. These are people who either need much more or much less sleep than everyone else. These people represent less than a percentage of the total population. Research has shown that most people who see themselves as short sleeps are sleep deprived. If you want to sleep less, improving your sleep habits is the only way to do so without sleep deprivation.