How many hours of sleep should I get a night?

The number of hours you get per night depends on which category you fall under. Please see the listing below:

  • Babies: 16 hours per day
  • Children: 9-16 hours per day
  • Teenagers: 9 hours per day
  • Adults: most need 7-8 hours, but some may need as few as 5 or as many as 10
  • Pregnant women may need more sleep than usual
  • Older adults may sleep for shorter periods of time, more often

Besides feeling tired, is there anything else wrong with not getting enough sleep?

Not only has sleep deprivation been linked to high blood pressure, new studies have shown that those who do not get enough sleep are at a high risk of becoming obese.

What does “good sleep” mean?

Good sleep is restful and uninterrupted. Your body is completely relaxed, moving only once or twice each hour to allow for blood circulation. You enter in the five sleep stages several times. (See the following answer for more.) Two hours of this time is spent dreaming, where your brain tries to make sense of thoughts and brain signals. While you can’t feel it, your body’s cells produce and store proteins to renew and restore all of your systems.

What are the five sleep stages?

Stage 1 – (10%) It’s easy to be awakened from stage 1 sleep. You may experience slight muscle contractions that give you the sensation of falling.

Stage 2 – (45-50%) Brain waves slow down, body temperature drops, breathing and heart rate remain constant.

Stage 3 and 4 – (20%) You enter deep sleep. Your brain waves change from the waking alpha and beta waves to slower theta and delta waves. It is hardest to wake you up. Your blood pressure drops and your breathing slows.

Stage 5 – REM (rapid eye movement) (20-25%) Your heart rate increases, your blood pressure rises, and you lose some ability to regulate your body temperature. Most dreams occur during this stage.

As the night goes on, periods of REM sleep increase in length while deep sleep time decreases. If you’re deprived of REM sleep one night, you may go into it earlier the following night to catch up.

What are the tips for better Sleep?

Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends, holidays and days off. If you don’t fall asleep within about 15 minutes, get up and do something relaxing. Go back to bed when you’re tired.

Pay attention to what you eat and drink. Don’t go to bed either hungry or too full. Your discomfort might keep you up. Also limit how much you drink before going bed, to prevent disruptive middle-of-the-night trips to the washroom.

Get comfortable. Create a room that’s ideal for sleeping. Often, this means cool, dark and quiet. Consider using room-darkening shades, earplugs, a fan or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs.

Create a bedtime ritual. Do the same things each night to tell your body it’s time to wind down. This might include taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, or listening to soothing music – preferably with the lights dimmed.

Include physical activity in your daily routine: Regular physical activity can promote better sleep, helping you to fall asleep faster and to enjoy deeper sleep. Timing is important, though. If you exercise too close to bedtime, you might be too energized to fall asleep.

Limit daytime naps. Long daytime naps can interfere with nighttime sleep – especially if you’re struggling with insomnia or poor sleep quality at night. If you choose to nap during the day, limit yourself to about 10 to 30 minutes and make it during the midafternoon.

Who can have problems with sleep?

Problems can affect anyone. Most believe the problems are minimal and normal, with few people seeking the help they need.
If you experience any of the following, you may have a sleep problem and should consult your doctor:

  • You consistently don’t get enough sleep or have poor quality sleep
  • You wake up feeling like you didn’t get any rest
  • You have trouble staying awake while driving
  • You struggle to stay awake while inactive, such as sitting reading or watching TV
  • You yawn or blink frequently
  • You have difficulty paying attention or concentrating
  • You have disconnected thoughts or frequent daydreams
  • You have performance problems at work or school
  • Others tell you that you look tired
  • You have memory problems
  • You have a slow reaction time
  • You have mood swings
  • You need naps often
  • You start dreaming right away when you fall asleep

When should I see my doctor about sleep problems?

Consult your doctor if your sleep problem is interfering with your work, school, relationships, or other important parts of your life. Or discuss sleep with your doctor when you go in for your yearly checkup.

Things to tell your doctor:

  • How much sleep you usually get per night
  • How long it takes you to fall asleep
  • How restful your sleep is
  • What times you usually fall asleep and wake up
  • Whether you snore, how loudly and how often
  • Whether you are drowsy during the day
  • Whether you have trouble concentrating, irritability or mood swings
  • Any alcohol, illegal drug use or cigarette smoking
  • Any over-the-counter drug or supplements you use to help you sleep
  • Times of day you eat, exercise and drink caffeine
  • Other physical conditions (especially heartburn, chronic pain or frequent urination) you have and medications you take