How much sleep do you need?

There is an ongoing debate about how much sleep we need. There were recent reports this year with recommendations based on a review of scientific studies and expert consensus. And more recently there was an interesting study of the sleep habits of pre-industrial, tribal communities in South America and Africa. That study found slightly shorter sleep durations than ours, suggesting that our “natural” sleep duration is maybe shorter than we think. I will post more details, but wanted to start a thread about how much sleep do you need? What factors affect how much sleep you need?

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When I was in my teens and playing sports, I needed 10 hours of sleep per night. In the off season it went down to about 9 hours per night. In college, it went down slightly, but was still above 8.5. As a middle-aged adult, I thought I was a solid 7.5-8.0, but using a variety of sleep tracking devices, I found I am closer to 7 hours, and have a natural weekday/weekend difference of about 30 minutes.

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A great article about how much sleep we need

At my age 61, I assume I am classified as an “Older Adults” who need 7-8 according to a graph in this article. I find 7 is adequate for me.

Deep in your post found this. This is the best visual I have seen on sleep hours needed as a person goes thru life.


I agree - this is a great visual. I’m always a fan of using graphs to communicate data. Good ones are always more impactful than just tables of numbers.

Definitely a striking visual that shows the clear change in sleep need over the lifespan. Would be good if the numbers were on the outside of the graphic.

While it would be more complicated, would be really neat to come up with one that also shows the percentage of deep and REM sleep and how that changes over the lifespan as well.

I like this visual as well!

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If you wake up in the middle of the night how do you count that ? I’m not trying to be funny it’s a legitimate question that I have.