What is the recommended average sleep time?

October 7, 2020 4 mins read
What is the recommended average sleep time?

What is your average sleep time per night? Are you wondering how much sleep is too little and how much is excessive?

You’ve probably heard at least one person say the words: “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Many people believe that they can go through life with very little sleep. They believe that four or five hours of sleep is enough to get them through the day, especially with the help of caffeine.

The problem is that you might actually end up shortening your lifespan doing so.

We get it; you want to get as much out of life as possible by adding more hours to your day. The less you sleep, the more time you have to achieve great things, go on adventures, do what you love, and spend time with the people who matter most.

So, how much sleep is too little? And what is the recommended average sleep time for you according to your age?

Is it okay to get 5 hours of sleep?

Five hours of sleep is not ideal. Don’t panic if you only get five hours now and then, but this amount of sleep is too little to get on average. If you are getting too little sleep, you can experience various side effects without even realising it or experience side effects down the line. These include hormonal imbalances, increased appetite, impaired cognitive performance, mood swings, and adrenal fatigue.

Is it okay to sleep for only 6 hours a night?

Okay, so you need more than five hours of sleep, but is six hours enough? For those who aren’t too fond of trading some of their waking hours for sleep, unfortunately not. If you are an adult, you want to at least reach seven hours of sleep before waking up.

What is the recommended average sleep time by age?

The amount of sleep you need to get on average, depends on your age. When you are a baby, you will need more sleep. But as you grow up, your sleep needs will change.

Here is an overview of the average amount of sleep you need according to your age. It will give you a clear indication of how much sleep is ideal for each member of the family and how much is too little.


Infants need more sleep than older children and adults, especially REM sleep. Baby sleep cycles are between 40 and 50 minutes long, and their rest is spread throughout the day and night to allow for feeding breaks in between.

Here is how much sleep infants need in a 24-hour cycle:

  • Newborn to 3 months: 14-20 hours
  • 4-6 months: 10-18 hours
  • 6-12 months: 12-16 hours
  • 1-2 years: 12-14 hours

Children and teens

Children and teenagers might need less sleep than babies, but they also need more than adults. This is because their bodies and brains are still growing. (During sleep, your body produces human growth hormone).

  • 3-5 years: 10-13 hours
  • 6-13 years: 9-11 hours
  • 14-17 years old: 8-9 hours

If your child is not getting the recommended amount of sleep, they might have sleep problems you were not aware of that need to be addressed.


Adults need less sleep, but this does not mean that you can get by on four or five hours. If you’ve been going through your days with only five hours of sleep on average because you thought it was enough, we hope that we have been able to convince you to squeeze in some more shut-eye.

From the age of 18 to 65 and into your golden years, you should strive for between 7-9 hours of sleep every night. You might need to start going to bed earlier to get enough sleep, which may be difficult in the beginning. You can use a sleep calculator to help you determine the best time to go to bed or wake up.

The importance of getting enough sleep

Getting enough quality sleep is the most important thing you can do for your health. If the amount of sleep you get is too little, your cognitive performance will suffer, and you can have hormonal imbalances, gain weight, and experience a long list of other side effects. If you have a bad sleeping pattern, you need to address the problem as soon as possible. Your future self will thank you.

After a few weeks and even days of getting the recommended average sleep time each night, you may realise that you feel even better, are more productive at work, and have more energy to enjoy the good things in life more.