How Much Sleep Is Enough?

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How Much Sleep Is Enough
Graphic: © Image source – Pixabay (PD).

Sleep is more than just a time when our body and mind shut down. It’s an active period of restoration, consolidation of memory, and strengthening. But what’s the risk of sacrificing a few hours every night to catch up on your favorite show or work late at night? Consider the following adverse effects of sleep deprivation:

⦁ Heart Disease and Stroke: According to a study published in the European Heart Journal, sleep duration is a significant predictor of cardiovascular outcomes. [1] Less than 7 hours of sleep every night increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

⦁ Risk of Early Death: A 2010 meta-analysis claimed that inadequate sleep is associated with early death. [2]

⦁ Diabetes: Sleep below and above the recommended duration increases the risk of diabetes. [3]

⦁ Decline in Cognitive Function: According to a recent study, not getting enough sleep over a prolonged period leads to “impaired reasoning, problem-solving, and communication skills.” [4]

Recommended Sleeping Hours by Age Group

Different age groups have different health and lifestyle requirements – and this, in turn, affects an individual’s sleep needs. Consider these general guidelines from the National Sleep Foundation: [5]

⦁ Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours

⦁ Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours

⦁ Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours

⦁ Pre-schoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours

⦁ School-age children (6-13): 9-11 hours

⦁ Teenagers (14-17):  8-10 hours

⦁ Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours

⦁ Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours

⦁ Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours

Final Remarks
To improve your health, it’s about time you start paying attention to your sleep patterns and make sleep a daily priority. You can even add sleep to your to-do list or your mandatory daily schedule. PS: Having “enough” sleep is not about being sleep deprived and compensating by logging many hours. Healthy sleep habits involve consistent routines to meet our sleep needs daily.

Please note that this content should never be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.


[1] Cappuccio, F. P. et al. 2011. Sleep duration predicts cardiovascular outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies.

[2] Cappuccio, F. P. et al. 2010. Sleep Duration and All-Cause Mortality: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies

[3] Gottlieb, D. J. et al. 2005. Association of Sleep Time With Diabetes Mellitus and Impaired Glucose Tolerance

[4] Wild, C. J. et al. 2018. Dissociable effects of self-reported daily sleep duration on high-level cognitive abilities

[5] Hirshkowitz, M. et al. 2015. National Sleep Foundation’s sleep time duration recommendations: methodology and results summary

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How Much Sleep Is Enough
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