We all know that babies need a lot of sleep – depending on age, up to 18 hours a day, in fact. Yet, as we move into adulthood we not only need less sleep, but we get, and function on, a lot less.
Adults need at least eight hours a night, as do the elderly, although it’s found that the older population often may not achieve their full quota in one solid block of sleep.
A staggering number of adults experience some form of sleep ‘debt’, which means there’s a lot of people trying to get through the day with less-than-adequate shut-eye.
Here’s the ideal amount of sleep every age group needs; they’re listed as ranges because gender has an influence, as well as lifestyle and health:
Newborns & Infants
Newborns don’t have an established circadian rhythm; it isn’t established until they’re 2 to 3 months old. Infants tend to sleep in several phases throughout the day, taking naps from 2.5 to 4 hours at a time. By around 12 months, infants start sleeping more at night. At this point, they start to sleep more like adults in that there don’t move their bodies during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is when people dream. Prior to 12 months, babies will move during REM sleep.