How much sleep does an individual needs?

How much sleep is required

The required amount of sleep an individual needs has once again come under the limelight, with a recent Walls Street publication recommending seven hours sleep over the preferred eight hours. When it comes to the required amount of sleep an individual requires, it can vary substantially depending on the person’s age.

Sleep is controlled by homeostatic and circadian operations, which communicates to determine the duration and length of sleep. The circadian operations symbolize the change in sleep tendency over a day or the body’s internal clock. The homeostatic operations, on the other hand, symbolize the building up of stress during wakefulness and the accumulation of sleep strain while asleep. Both the homeostatic and the circadian procedures are dependent on external variables, such as sickness, physical exercise, sleep history and internal variables such as genes. The variation of sleeping duration and timing in individuals can pretty much be revealed by these external and internal factors.


Individuals require sleep:

Genetics are relevant in determining sleep preferences: if we are night creatures, choosing to stay awake late into the night, or early birds choosing to get up as early as we can in the morning. Genetics can also play a role in determining if we are long or short sleepers. But although genes may have laid the foundation for duration and timing of sleep, other external elements also affect the need for sleep. Possibly, one of the few causes influencing sleep timing and duration correlates to the individual’s sleep history.

Many grownups, aware or not, experience sleep limitation, often on a weekly or on a daily basis. Limiting your sleep duration or staying awake all night will only increase one’s sleep pressure. This pressure caused by sleeplessness dissipates within sleep, therefore causing the need for sleep to increase. General wellness, working out, excessive work and even psychological stress can affect sleep’s timing and duration. During times of sickness, periods of mental stress (times of examinations) and after a workout session, the amount of sleep required to restore the body’s balance may increase. Likewise, individuals who are sick or are in a state of poor health might also require longer sleep periods when compared to healthier people.

The amount of sleep an individual requires also varies with age, with older individuals having lesser sleep time than young individuals. Once again, the interaction between homeostatic and the circadian processes are factors thought to influence the sleep duration at various stages and ages. The variations in the sleep duration of individuals make it difficult to determine the exact amount of sleep the average adult needs. However, most sleep experts usually agree that the seven to nine hours of sleep is what most of the grownups require to function at their very best.

Sleep requirement as we age:

The biggest solo aspect that impacts sleep duration and timing is age and the amount of rest required by individuals of different age groups are different in a very significant way. For instance, kids, especially newborns, require much more sleep than grownups. According to the Nationwide Sleep Foundation, the standard recommendations for different age groups are as follows:


Age Groups Recommended Sleep Requirement
Newborns (0-2 months) 12-18 hours
Infants (3-11 months) 14-15 hours
Toddlers (1-3 years) 12-14 hours
Preschoolers (3-5 years) 11-13 hours
Young children (5-10 years) 10-11 hours
Adolescents (10-17 years) 8.5-9.25 hours
Adults 7-9 hours


Generally speaking, the required amount of sleep needed each night reduces continuously throughout our youth up to maturity, and then, it flattens out and stabilizes when we’re old. The duration of sleep we actually get also reduces throughout life, although for a wide range of elements, duration of sleep required and duration of sleep gotten are actually not always synchronized.

Younger kids tend to a have much endurance levels, as they can sleep in a noisy environment, which aids them to achieve longer rest periods than they require. For cultural and social factors (as well as mental factors) young adults and teens generally sleep considerably less than the required amounts, as quite a number of them are scholars and they stay up to study at night. Truck drivers, doctors, shift workers and especially young parents are amongst the groups of people that are at the risk of sleep deprivation. Surprisingly, the elderly actually requires just as much sleep as younger folks, but they usually don’t achieve this due to breathing problems, pain-related conditions, side effects of certain medications etc all of which are associated with old age or older people). Their night’s rest is generally less heavy, more fragmented and shorter, often leaving them with the option of resorting to mid-day naps.

The sum up of our sleep (in conditions of non-rapid eye movement sleep and rapid eye movement sleep) also changes later on in life. For instance, a few months old may require anywhere from 12 to 18 hours rest a day, of which entirely half may have been spent in rapid eye movement sleep. For a baby in the womb, this amount can be as much as 75%, although muscular atonia has not been properly formed at that time, perhaps because the child does not require safety in the womb). When they’re old enough to begin school, kids may require around 11 hours sleep duration daily, (only a few hours of this may be rapid eye movement sleep), and the duration changes a little as they continue to maturity. Studies have revealed that the increased proportion of rapid eye movement sleep babies require can be traced to the early advancement of their central nervous systems. The depth of sleep in older people may decrease over time and their rapid eye movement sleep may decrease to as low as 20%. Also, their non-rapid eye movement sleep may also decrease and this, in turn, could lead to the compromising and disturbance of their immune systems which makes them vulnerable to sickness.

Non-rapid eye movement sleep is simply when an individual sleeps without dreaming. During Non-REM sleep, the body heart rate appears normal and breathing is slow. Also, the individual is relatively still and the blood pressure is low. Non-REM is the earlier stages of sleep before falling into REM sleep.

Rapid Eye Movement sleep is when the individual sleeps and dreams. REM sleep can occur up to 5 times per night. The duration of REM sleep can range from 10 minutes to about an hour and the intervals of their occurrences are 1 to 2 hours apart. During REM sleep, there is involuntary muscle jerks, irregular heart and breathing rate there is rapid and low voltage brain waves.

During the teenage and the adolescence ages, an unexplained phase is encountered, where the individual may feel more alert at night and then waking up early becomes difficult. This delay is usually for about an hour or two. Generally, they may not be prepared for rest until 11 pm or 12 pm, and not prepared to awaken again until 9 am or thereabouts, which clearly does not go in line with the regular program of parent guidelines and hours of school. Presented with this, it is perhaps not unusual that many youngsters are vulnerable to feelings and behavioural complications, sometimes wrongly diagnosed as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). It has also been proven that a modest hold up in school resumption hours will help younger people build a stabilized and natural sleep profile, which will enhance their academic productivity and improve their performance and behaviour.

At age 60 and beyond, the pendulum shifts back the other way and elderly folks are subject to a stage enhancement. They are generally prepared to rest early at night and awaken earlier the next day.


If you want to maximize productivity and interested in optimal health, then you should make sleep a top priority in your life.


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *