Do you dream of achieving the perfect 8-hour sleep schedule? Well, you may need to keep dreaming. After all, the ideal amount of sleep doesn’t come in a one-size fits all solution. In fact, oversleeping can make you feel just as lethargic as sleeping too little, and 8 hours may not be the magic number for you.
It may seem counterintuitive, but going over your ideal sleep schedule doesn’t give you extra energy — it just makes you feel even more groggy. While getting plenty of sleep is essential for a healthy life, it isn’t as simple as aiming for a solid 8 hours and calling it a day. In the end, you need to pay just as much attention to your sleep patterns as you do the actual number of hours you sleep.
Finding the appropriate amount of sleep for your body can mean the difference between going through the day dragging your feet and being able to hop out of bed without skipping a beat. Many factors go into finding the ideal sleep time for your body, so remember that your health cannot be whittled down to a single number.
When it comes to sleep cycles, waking up in a REM cycle or while you are in a deep sleep will leave you feeling disoriented and groggy. Planning your wake time based on your sleep cycle, however, will allow you to wake during a light sleep stage, so you are far more willing to hop out of bed.
According to research compiled by the National Sleep Foundation, the organization has estimated the average ideal sleep ranges based on age.
How Much Sleep is Enough?
- Newborns (0–3 months): Sleep range is 14–17 hours each day
- Infants (4–11 months): Sleep range is 12–15 hours
- Toddlers (1–2 years): Sleep range is 11–14 hours
- Preschoolers (3–5): Sleep range is 10–13 hours
- School-aged children (6–13): Sleep range is 9–11 hours
- Teenagers (14–17): Sleep range is 8–10 hours
- Younger adults (18–25): Sleep range is 7–9 hours
- Adults (26–64): Sleep range is 7–9 hours
- Seniors (65+): Sleep range is 7–8 hours
Keep in mind, of course, that these are ranges. You may notice a stark difference between getting 7 hours and 30 minutes of sleep and a full 9 hours of sleep. While both are within the ideal range for those aged 18–64, some bodies may respond positively to an extra hour and a half and others may not. Keep paying attention to how you feel when you wake up in the morning and throughout your day. Once you find your ideal number, make a habit out of trying to stick to your sleep schedule even on the weekends. Your body and brain will thank you for it.