How much sleep is enough?

The answer to this question is not as straightforward as it may seem.  There is no one agreed-upon number experts use as the ideal amount of sleep for everyone to get.

However, determining the right amount of sleep for your own personal system is important because insufficient sleep has a number of negative consequences.  A lack of sleep has been shown to negatively affect alertness, memory, problem solving, and overall health, as well as increase the risk of accidents.  A 2003 study at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine demonstrated that cognitive performance declines with six or fewer hours of sleep.

Instead of a single number, sleep therapists generally recommend a range that is normal for most people.  The National Sleep Foundation suggests that seven to nine hours of sleep for adults is optimal.  Other studies have shown six to seven hours increase longevity.  But these are only generalized ranges for healthy sleep duration.

Some people are genetically predisposed to need less sleep than others.  A very small percentage, called short sleepers, function normally with 5 or less hours of sleep.  Determining the right amount of sleep is also a moving target – it changes as you age.

There are many interrelated factors that determine how much sleep is best for you, including your unique metabolism, which changes as you age.  Your sleep can be affected by your diet, your occupation, the amount of stress you experience on any particular day.  Your sleep can be influenced by the amount of exercise you get, and many psychological factors we examine in the Sleep Training System.

The bottom line?  There is no one specific number of hours that is the “right” amount everyone should get.  Instead, there is only one number we are concerned about:  what’s right for you, and the Sleep Training System will help you determine that.

For more, see the Sleep Principles section of the STS.

Explore posts in the same categories: Uncategorized

3 Comments on “How much sleep is enough?”


  1. […] amount of sleep we “should” get each night.  But when it comes to sleep, there is nothing magical about 8 hours.  That’s the myth — thinking anything less is not normal and results in […]


  2. […] consistent sleep schedule is another important factor in ensuring good sleep through long winter nights.  Depending on your […]


  3. […] can.  Be sure to schedule enough time in bed for proper sleep, but be aware sleep duration is a moving target that changes as we […]


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