How many hours of sleep do you get on average every night?  Most Americans suffer a sleep deficit.

We simply don’t get enough.  According to the National Sleep Foundation, the optimal amount of sleep you need depends mostly on how old you are.

Here’s the scoop on how much sleep you need per day:

  • Newborn Babies (0 to 3 months): 14 to 17 hours
  • Infants (4 to 11 months): 12 to 15 hours
  • Toddlers (1 to 2 years): 11 to 14 hours
  • Preschoolers (3 to 5 years): 10 to 13 hours
  • School-Aged Children (6 to 13 years): 9 to 11 hours
  • Teenagers (14 to 17 years): 8 to 10 hours
  • Young Adults (18 to 25 years): 7 to 9 hours
  • Adults (26 to 64 years): 7 to 9 hours
  • Older Adults (65 years or older): 7 to 8 hours

As you can see, there’s quite a lot of variability here, so the answer of 8 hours of sleep per night doesn’t really tell the whole story.

In addition to the above, gender differences affect the amount and quality of sleep we get.  Women, for instance, tend to require somewhat more sleep than men and will usually be higher on the range for any given age bracket.  Women are also more prone to developing sleep disorders, while men tend to be much more prone to snoring (which naturally, can also disrupt the woman’s sleep patterns).

Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to improve your sleep.  These include:

  • Establish and stick to a regular bedtime
  • Develop a pre-sleep routine which includes a warm bath, a light snack, and perhaps a bit of reading just before bed
  • Keeping your bedroom on the cool side, between 60 and 67 degrees.

If you do these simple things, you’ll dramatically improve the quality of your sleep!