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The amount of sleep that we need changes over our lifetimes. Babies need the most sleep. As we get older, we gradually need less sleep. This is not linear, however, with teenagers needing more sleep than pre-teens.

The following is a break-down of sleep needs for different ages. There is a considerable variance, however, because the hours a person needs to sleep varies between individuals.

Sleep needs for different ages:

Babies and Toddlers:
0 – 3 months old: newborns need an average of 16 hrs sleep/day, lessening slightly as they get older. They sleep as needed, in a 24-hour cycle. Individual sleep periods vary considerably, but they are usually 4 – 5 hours at a time. They need so much sleep because they need to grow. They sleep in cycles because they need to eat.

3 – 12 months: older babies need around 14 hours sleep per day. Sleep times remain cyclical, but some babies start to sleep for longer periods at night; daytime sleep periods shorten to become ‘naps’.

1-2 years old: toddlers need around between 11 and 14 hrs sleep/day

Older children:

* 3-5 years olds: need 10-13 hrs sleep/day
* 6-13 years old: 9-11 hrs sleep/day

13 – 20 years old: need anywhere between 10 – 17 hrs sleep/day. This is the greatest variance out of the life stages. The variance is also less to do with individual differences. Sleep needs can vary dramatically in one individual. Teens going through rapid growth phases and hormonal changes need more sleep.

From 20 years old: between 6 and 9 hrs sleep/day. Some adults need as little as 6 hours sleep a day. However, most need at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep – and often don’t get it for a variety of reasons!

65+ Years of Age:
Adults over 65 need almost half the sleep time that newborn babies do, and it lessens even further with as we move into old age, with may over 75’s waking early after no more than 4 – 5 hours of sleep.