While our physical and emotional growth develops as we get older, our sleep habits and patterns do, too. When we were younger, we were always told to sleep at least eight hours a day to keep up with a healthy sleeping habit. Newborn babies and toddlers sleep much longer than adults do. However, as we reach the adulthood stage, difficulties and abnormalities in sleeping arise which sometimes cause other health issues.
Every age and phase of adulthood has its own sleeping needs. But because our busy schedules keep us occupied most of the time, there is only a little time left for sleeping. Although we strive to maintain a healthy sleeping habit, sleep patterns alter which usually result in oversleeping or sleep deprivation.
How does a person’s age correlate with sleeping? How much sleep should you get according to your age? And how can you maintain a healthy sleeping habit? Keep reading and we will help you find the answers.
The Correlation between Age and Sleeping
Age is a highly significant factor that identifies the amount of sleep or the sleep schedule a person should get. Although it varies from person to person, our sleep needs always change when we reach a certain age. There are particular aspects of our lives that change during our younger years up to adulthood. Some of these factors that greatly affect our sleep habits and patterns as we age are the activities we engage in, and the physical and emotional growth.
Newborn babies tend to sleep much longer than adults do. As they don’t have an internal biological clock, they are not likely to have a sleep pattern. They spend between 12 to 18 hours of sleep a day to suffice the amount of sleep they need. It is very typical for them to spend so much time in sleeping rather than wake up which usually just lasts for 30 minutes or less and go back to sleep again.
Children, on the other hand, engage in more activities in school compared to when they were younger. And when it is time for them to wrap up the day with a good night sleep, they may only need 10 to 11 hours of sleep. This amount decreases as they continue to grow and develop to adulthood.
Rapid Eye Movement or REM sleep is the phase where vivid and realistic dreams occur. As the name suggests, your eyes rapidly move back and forth while in this phase and your brain similarly functions as it does when you’re awake. As you grow older, REM sleep also decreases. Babies are thought to have more REM sleep due to the early development of their central nervous systems.
The third phase of sleep is known as the restorative stage where tissue repairs and energy reinvigoration take place. It is where the deepest sleep also occurs. However, older people, acquire less of this essential phase of sleep which results in sleep deprivation and other sleep problems. With such issues, immune system deteriorates which makes the older people more vulnerable to different types of diseases.
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
There is an average sleep requirement according to a person’s age which exhibits the usual amount of hours a person gets when sleeping. If you comply with the recommended hours of sleep according to your age, you will surely take advantage of the health benefits and there is a greater chance to fight off the potential health risks; it is vital to determine the amount of sleep you need.
Below is the chart that displays the sleep requirement or the number of hours by age.
Newborn Babies (0 to 2 months)
12 to 18 hours
Infants (3 to 11 months)
14 to 15 hours
Toddlers (1 to 3 years old)
12 to 14 hours
Preschoolers (3 to 5 years old)
11 to 13 hours
Young Children (5 to 10 years old)
10 to 11 hours
Teenagers (10 to 17 years old)
8.5 to 9.5 hours
Young Adults (18 to 36 years old)
7.5 to 8.5 hours
7 to 8 hours
Older Adults (65 years and above)
6 to 7 hours
According to the chart, the total sleep hours decreases as a person gets older. Newborn babies and children tend to sleep more than adults do. However, despite such decrease in the sleep hours for adults, they incorporate daytime power naps in their sleep schedule.
The results may still vary from person to person. The lifestyle, the activities, and the timing of sleep are the other aspects that may affect sleep patterns and the total amount of sleep. Older people who take medications may also have an effect on their sleep habits.
Healthy Sleep Habit for Every Age
Better sleep begets better health and vice versa. Keeping a healthy sleep habit by getting enough sleep enables you to be less vulnerable to certain illnesses and other health risks. You are likely to fight off diseases and other health problems that are usually caused by sleep abnormalities and inconsistent sleep habit.
Adults and older adults typically suffer from sleep deprivation. It is not that they don’t need a lot of sleep but because the activities and other health issues obstruct their sleep. Some have heart problems, an aching back or hip, or a bad knee that cause them to sleep less than they should.
No wonder some adults prefer using a memory foam pillow or a memory foam mattress toppers to help them sleep better at night or whenever they need to. Children, teenagers, and even adults should also try to refrain from using their phones and other gadgets during bedtime. Such habit highly disrupts sleep schedule.
Healthy Sleep for Newborn Babies
Put the baby in the crib or on the bed when your baby is sleepy.
Help your baby sleep during nighttime by playing with them during the day. Exposure to light and noise during the day may also help.
Keep their bed or crib comfortable with a soft and cozy blanket or mini pillows.
Healthy Sleep for Children
Don’t encourage your children to use their gadgets or mobile phones during bedtime.
Keep a regular schedule for bedtime and daytime sleep.
Set up a relaxing mood in your child’s bedroom. If you also have an enjoyable activity or routine before bedtime, be consistent with it.
Make sure that daytime naps should not be greater than 20 minutes. It will be more difficult to encourage your child to sleep at night if you let him nap longer the recommended time.
Eat the right amount of food at the right time. Eating too late or too much might disrupt your child’s sleep schedule at night.
Older children should avoid caffeine.
Keep the television, computers, and other gadgets out of your child’s room.
Healthy Sleep for Adults
Avoid eating large meals in the evening.
Avoid caffeine. Too much caffeine might slow down your body’s natural clock and hence, might let you sleep later than the time you should.
Provide a relaxing mood in your bedroom. You can dim the lights, turn the TV off, and keep your bed comfortable and cozy.
Maintain a regular sleep schedule. Be strict.
Take a nap during the day. Don’t go over 20 or 25 minutes. Otherwise, you will feel weak and groggy.
Do not use your mobile phones and other gadgets during bedtime.
Mentioned are some of the recommended tips you can try to keep up with a healthy sleep habit according to your age. This will give you, your children, or your baby a much better health today and in the long run. However, if there is a known illness that you or your child is suffering from, always consult your doctor to know the healthy sleep habit you should maintain that will not deter the effectiveness of your medications.