Seven to eight hours of sleep per night? This rule was once. Today, experts recommend other guideline values – and they vary depending on age and fitness. Read here which sleep time is optimal for you.
Optimal sleep time by age:
People’s optimal sleep times vary immensely. While an adult can get by on just seven hours of sleep, an infant needs around 19 hours a day, according to the U.S. National Sleep Foundation Reports.
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Newborns (0 to 3 months):
The ideal bedtimes for the youngest are 14 to 17 hours per day. However, these values vary: eleven hours are enough for some children, while others need up to 19 hours.
There is a reason for these long rest periods: In the first months of life, the body releases growth hormones during sleep, which are essential for the child’s physical development. Babies also learn while they sleep.
Infants (4 to 11 months):
After a quarter of a year, the baby’s body has become accustomed to a more regular sleep pattern. Children often sleep through the night and need fewer breaks during the day.
The ideal amount of sleep is around 15 hours, with some babies needing as little as ten hours. These, however, are absolutely necessary, since the immune system of children is just developing – and this especially during sleep.
Infants (1 to 2 years):
The perfect sleep time for infants is twelve to 15 hours. Children who sleep less than ten hours often compensate for fatigue with hyperactivity. There are even studies that indicate that children with ADHD need more naps overall.
Kindergarten children (3 to 5 years):
Ten to 13 hours is how long toddlers should sleep. Under no circumstances should it be less than eight hours. Otherwise, the children may develop behavioral problems. This is what British researchers have found.
School children (6 to 13 years):
Most school children need nine to eleven hours of sleep a day. However, the optimal values vary between seven and twelve hours.
But: the longer children sleep, the smarter they become. This is what a study by the University of Tubingen has shown.
The reason: While the body is asleep, the brain stores what it has learned. Children in particular are still learning an extremely large amount of new things, so they need a lot of time to process the information they have gathered.
Teens (ages 14 to 17):
During puberty, the body is a victim of its own hormones. To cope with the change from child to adult, a teenager needs at least eight to ten hours of sleep a night.
Young adults (18 to 25 years):
During this lifespan, the ideal amount of sleep is between seven and nine hours. They are particularly important for men who are planning a family. In fact, studies by the University of Southern Denmark have shown that lack of sleep reduces testosterone levels and decreases the amount of sperm by up to a third.
Adults (26 to 64 years):
During this longest life span, seven to nine hours of sleep is usually sufficient for humans. However, anything between six and ten hours is still absolutely normal.
However, those who sleep significantly less should be concerned. Scientists even warn against ignoring natural sleep habits.
In another study, researchers found that lack of sleep can decrease sensitivity to insulin, increasing the risk of developing diabetes."
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Read more on the topic:
Seniors (65 years and older):
At this age, seven to eight hours of sleep is sufficient for most people. Those who also get it during the night reduce their risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even dementia.
Differences also between the sexes
In addition to age, gender can also influence our need for sleep. Hans-Gunter Weeb, psychologist and board member of the German Society for Sleep Research and Sleep Medicine (DGSM) explains in his book "Schlaf wirkt Wunder" (Sleep works wonders), That women have a higher sleep requirement than men.
According to this, middle-aged women need on average about twenty to thirty minutes more per night. "In addition, women are the deeper sleepers. Not only do they have more deep sleep, but especially in the second half of life, they retain the "deep sleep" that is so important for physical recovery, reports Weeb. Men would lose this over time.
According to the sleep expert, women also have a more flexible sleep-wake rhythm: "They manage better than men to go to bed earlier, take a nap during the day and stay awake at night." However, females would also need more time to fall asleep and would have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep more often than males.