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Getting Enough Sleep

  • How Many Hours of Sleep Do You Need?

  • Brought to you by: Palo Alto Medical Foundation

  • Forty-seven million Americans put themselves at risk for injury or problems with their behavior or health because they aren’t getting enough sleep. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driver drowsiness or fatigue contributes to 100,000 crashes a year.

    Twenty-seven percent of adults in the U.S. report feeling sleepy more than twice a week, causing them to have less concentration and more difficulty handling stress, solving problems and making decisions, as well as listening and relating to co-workers.

    In adolescents, sleep deprivation can lead to increased risk of drug and alcohol use, greater irritability and aggressive behavior, and poor school performance. Insufficient sleep has also been shown to result in increased hunger and appetite, contributing to obesity.

    It’s important to know how many hours of sleep you need. The information below describes the sleep requirement for various age groups. Your recommended sleep requirement is the number of hours of sleep that will enable you to remain functional and not sleepy during the day.

    If you are sleepy during the day, try going to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual for a week, keeping the same wake-up time. Continue to advance your bedtime by 30 minute increments until you find the right number of hours of sleep that enables you to stay alert during the day.

    Sleep Requirement By Age

    Newborns - 16-20 hours *
    Infants (0-2 months) - 10.5-18 hours *
    Infants (2-12 months) - 14-15 hours *
    Toddlers (12-18 months) - 13-15 hours *
    Toddlers (18 months-3 years) - 12-14 hours *
    Pre-school children (3-5 years) - 11-13 hours *
    School children (5-12 years) - 9-11 hours *
    Adolescents (12-18 years) - 8.5-9.5 hours
    Adults (18 years+) - 7-9 hours
    *Naps are included

    Source: Abad VC and Guilleminault C. Clinical Implications of Sleep Deprivation. Pulmonary and Critical Care Update 2005. Vol 19: Lesson 23.

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