Have trouble sleeping? If so, you’re not alone. At least 40 million Americans suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorders, and another 20 million have occasional problems. Many more (including me) just don’t seem to find enough hours in the day and night to get adequate sleep.
Lack of sleep has been linked to a variety of health conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. Sleep deprivation can also affect alertness and reflexes. And that can be lethal—tired drivers cause an estimated 100,000 motor vehicle accidents and 1,500 vehicle-related deaths each year.
So, how much sleep do you really need? While there’s a lot of individual variation based on age, health status, and genetic factors, average daily sleep needs are:
|Babies||16 to 18 hours|
|Preschoolers||11 to 12 hours|
|School-age children||10 hours|
|Teens||9 to 10 hours|
|Adults||7 to 8 hours|
And a special note for expectant parents: women often need several extra hours of sleep during the first three months of pregnancy.
If you’d like to test your sleep I.Q., check out this online quiz.
And visit the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research to learn more about sleep, and what NIH research is doing to better understand its effects on health and behavior.