How many hours of sleep do adults need?

Sleep. It’s important. I know it, you know it, your dog who takes an excessive amount of naps knows it. But here’s the question: How many hours of sleep do adults need?

How much sleep adults need.

Well, it’s a complicated matter that varies from person-to-person. Lots of factors, from your age to the quality of your sleep, can affect how much you need for optimal brain function.

As a general guideline, adults need 7-9 hours of sleep. But, that’s a pretty wide range to shoot for. I know that 7 hours is gonna leave me feeling lethargic and needing extra caffeine. Whereas 9 hours is closer to my sweet spot. So, how else can you figure out how much sleep is ideal for you?

Be mindful of your sleep debt.

When we talk about figuring out the ideal amount of shut-eye, it’s important to understand that skipping sleep can change that number drastically. A 2016 study showed it takes on average 4 days to make up for 1 hour of lost sleep. 

All this to say, the amount of sleep you missed out on yesterday will greatly affect the amount of sleep you’ll need to be well-rested today. So be kind to yourself and try to get that extra downtime. Your body will thank you.

Signs you aren’t getting enough sleep.

Our bodies will tell us when they’re not happy. See if the following list rings true to get a baseline on if you need to consider increasing your sleep.

  • You have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep during the night.
  • Staying focused and alert throughout the day is challenging.
  • You rely on caffeine to get your tasks done.
  • Your sleep schedule is irregular.
  • You often hit snooze on your alarm.

Improve your sleep habits.

Getting good sleep can be tricky—but luckily there are a number of ways you can strive to improve it. By implementing a few healthy, sustainable habits, you’ll find you’re able to get better rest.

Stick to a sleep schedule.
Our bodies operate on a circadian rhythm which regulates our sleep-wake cycle on a 24-hour basis. This tells your brain to release chemicals, such as melatonin, when it’s about time for you to sleep. When you go to bed and get up at inconsistent times, it hinders your body’s ability to regulate this process. 

Prioritize sleep in your calendar.
When our lives get busy, sleep tends to be the first thing that goes out the window. Consider blocking out extra time in your schedule for a nightly routine that helps you wind down for some amazing rest. Once you start to reprioritize sleep, you’ll find that the benefits are worth it.

Cultivate your own nighttime rituals.
Create your own nighttime ritual that helps you wind down and practice self-care. My ritual consists of putting on comfy pajamas, doing my skincare routine, and listening to music while I read. This not only preps me for sleep but also ensures I end my day on a good note. Your routine can be anything you want it to be. Start with a few small things you can implement now and build your way up from there.

Optimize your sleep space.
Make it as easy as possible to drift into your dreams by creating your own sleep sanctuary. Everything from optimizing light (the less the better), to experimenting with color and sound will benefit you on your sleep journey. Just like the nighttime rituals, start small with what you incorporate. For me, a healthy dose of white noise, the fan on low, and a dim night light seem to do the trick.

Get regular exercise.
30 minutes or more of exercise 3-5 times a week can help prep your body for amazing sleep. If you’re able to incorporate or increase physical activity, give it a try and see how it works for you.

Be mindful of what you eat and drink.
Caffeine, alcohol, and excessive sugar can negatively impact the quality of sleep you’re able to get. Consider starting a food journal to see if there’s any correlation between what you’re consuming and how much sleep you’re able to get over a few weeks. 

Upgrade your mattress.
Your mattress is likely a huge factor in the quality of sleep you’re getting. As humans, we need the right amount of support and pressure relief for restorative REM sleep. But, mattress shopping can be overwhelming! There are so many different kinds to choose from and lots of hard-to-understand technical specs. At Tuft & Needle, we strive to boil down the shopping experience to what matters: Getting you better sleep. If you’re ready to explore the best fit for your needs, our Customer Experience team is standing by.

Getting the right amount of sleep for your body is nuanced. Hopefully, this has helped get you ready to embark on your ideal sleep journey! 

Share this story

Michelle Wardle
Michelle Wardle

Michelle Wardle is a Senior Copywriter at Tuft & Needle. Her passion for poetry paved the way for a career in writing. Michelle lives with her pup, Lua, in sunny Phoenix. She lives for horror movies, single-origin coffee, and astrology memes.

More posts from michelle

Related Posts

Sound for sleep: white noise machines.

Our sleep environments have many components—the bed being the most important—that involve all senses. One that affects the quality of sleep for many people worldwide is sound. Sure, some people cou...

Read more

How often should you wash your sheets?

Washing my sheets is just one of those chores that always seems to slip my mind. Working turns into working out, turns into making dinner. And before I know it, I’m lying in bed staring at the ceil...

Read more

Laundry stripping my T&N Linen Sheets

This time at home has certainly had some pretty interesting effects on me and my hobbies. Never someone who was super clean, I’m now following three home cleaning accounts on Instagram, getting exc...

Read more