How Much Sleep Do We Need At Each Stage of Life?

better night's sleep


Many new parents get frustrated by babies who don’t sleep through the night. By the time those babies become teenagers, they wonder why their kids seem to sleep until noon if let to their own devices. Senior citizens are often awake before the crack of dawn. If these sleep habits seem unusual, to you, you’re not alone. Knowing how much sleep a person needs at each age can helps facilitate healthy sleep habits.

Newborn Infants

Newborn infants need 14 to 17 hours of sleep every day. They often sleep for a few hours, wake up to eat, then go back to sleep. Newborn sleep cycles are controlled by daylight and darkness, and they take about three months to develop a sleep routine.

Tip: Try infant massaging to help calm them down for an easier time getting them to sleep. 


Between ages four and 11 months, babies need around 11 to 15 hours of sleep per day. This includes overnight sleep and one or two naps. Babies spend about half of their sleeping time in rapid eye movement sleep.


Toddlers are busy learning, and they often fight going to sleep. They need 11 to 14 hours of sleep every night. Some of this sleep can be in the form of a nap in the late morning or early afternoon. Consistent bedtimes help toddlers establish good sleep habits.

Tip: To avoid light pollution waking up your toddler (way to early) is to use blackout shades.

Preschoolers and School Age Children

By the time a child is about five years old, they no longer need a nap. Their rapid eye movement sleep decreases to about 30 percent of their sleep time. Children who don’t get enough sleep often become hyper or show symptoms of inattention, ease of distraction and poor ability to focus. Preschoolers and school age children need about nine to 11 hours of sleep per night.


A teenager’s circadian rhythm shifts about one hour later than those of children. This means that your teen wants to burn the midnight oil and sleep until lunchtime. Teens benefit from a lot of deep sleep, which is restorative and allows them to wake up feeling well-rested and energetic. Teenagers need eight to 10 hours of sleep every night. Unfortunately, early school start times, full schedules and smartphones often get in the way of teens getting enough sleep.

Tip: Teens are incredibly active between school and extra curriculars so find a mattress that is designed for recovery


When you’re in your 20s, you’ll have the best sleep of your life. You spend the most time in deep restorative sleep during these years. As you move into your 30s and 40s, you spend more time in the medium stage of sleep, which is less restorative. Busy or irregular schedules mean that a majority of adults don’t get the sleep they need. Stress also contributes to poor sleep, and poor sleep induces more feelings of stress.

Senior Citizens

The body’s internal clock falls back during a person’s elderly years. As you get older, you’ll notice that you’re tired earlier in the evening and awake earlier in the morning. The elderly also wake up more frequently during the night, so they do not enter the deeper stages of sleep that make them feel well-rested during the day. This often results in more napping or dozing off in the middle of the day. Spending more time in lighter stages of sleep also means that the elderly need more sleep time than younger adults. In this way, their sleep patterns are more like those of babies.







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