30th March, 2015

How Many Hours of Sleep Do You Need For Optimal Health?

By Max Kirsten
How Many Hours of Sleep Do You Need For Optimal Health?

I’m often asked how many hours of sleep a night is the right amount for good health? Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation, and these figures may surprise you. When we are babies we need between 11 and 14 hours of sleep a night. When we are toddlers between the three and five years old we need between 10 and 13 hours of sleep a night. Between the ages of six and thirteen we need between 9 and 11 hours sleep. In our early teenage years between 14 to 17 years old, we need ideally 8 to 10 hours sleep a night. From age 18 until we are 64 years old we need between 7 and 9 hours sleep. And when we are over 65 we need between 7 and 8 hours sleep.

How Many Hours of Sleep Do You Need For Different Age Groups?

Obviously these are the ideal recommended hours for each age group, and certainly many of us particularly in our younger years consider this much sleep almost excessive. Research shows that when we are not getting enough sleep not only does our health begins to suffer, cognitive impairment occurs making it hard to do certain things, often lack of sleep causes emotional imbalances, and less than six hours sleep is considered to be a recipe for health problems in later life, such as increased chances of having a stroke, cancer, and generally stress-related illnesses.

How Too Many Hours of Sleep Can Harm Your Health

However, new research from the University of Cambridge also shows that if we’re getting too much sleep for example over 8 hours – if you are over 40 you have an increased chance (46%) of having a stroke at that end of the sleep spectrum as well. Over sleeping has been linked to a host of health problems, including diabetes and obesity. But then obesity has been linked to not getting enough sleep, under six hours regularly.

The Power of Napping

The good sleep health news is that taking half-hour naps (often these days called power naps) has been shown to reverse all the damage caused by poor quality, or shorter than ideal sleep patterns. scientists in France recently showed that sleep deprived adults who power nap rebalanced their immune systems, restoring noradrenaline levels to normal. Napping if we are unable to get that ideal scientifically proven amount of sleep for our age group helps our bodies rebalance metabolic, hormonal and immune homoeostasis. In other words, napping is good for you and improves mind and body performance when a good nights sleep isn’t always possible.

Sleep Apps & MP3 Download Programs

If you’re having difficulty sleeping try out my sleep apps and MP3 downloads or contact me to book a one-to-one sleep coaching session.

* Remember: The quality of our sleep is always far more important than the amount of hours you sleep.

I wish you a great night’s sleep.

Max Kirsten Signature