How many hours of sleep should I be getting? Q&A with sleep coach Devin Burke

Hey, everyone. It’s Devin Burke, your coaching guide to a peaceful night’s rest, and today we’re going to be talking about how many hours of sleep you should be getting to lead a productive, successful life. This is a really common question a lot of times people are confused about, so I want to address it in today’s episode. So let’s get ahead and get started.

The answer to this question is, it depends. It depends. It depends on a lot of factors, and some of what it depends on we’re going to get into. Specifically, it depends on your age. So, as we get older, our sleep changes. Our sleep architecture changes. When we’re a baby, we need a lot more sleep than when we’re later stages of life. And if you’re pregnant, you need a lot more sleep than if you’re not pregnant. Right? Which usually happens a little bit later on in life.

So, age is definitely a big factor, and we’re going to get into the specifics of, depending on how old you are and what’s going on in life, how many hours of sleep you should be getting.

The second factor is your lifestyle. So, depending if you’re somebody who is very active, if you’re an athlete, you’re going to need more sleep than somebody who is sedentary, who is not active. If you are somebody who is not taking care of themselves, if you are somebody who is suffering from a chronic disease because of your lifestyle habits, your lifestyle is going to affect how much sleep you need and how much sleep you’re able to get. That’s absolutely important.

Your genetics are another factor here, when we talk about how much sleep you should be getting. Certain people, depending on their natural chronotype, chronobiology, certain people need less sleep than others. There is actually a really interesting article that was recently published, I believe, on Time, about this family that has this certain genetic sort of mutation, if you will, that allows them to get way less sleep, and it doesn’t have any negative impacts.

But depending on your unique genetics, you might be somebody that needs a little bit more sleep or you can get away with a little bit less. And in the future, I’m sure there’s going to be some genetic test available for consumers, that can actually help identify your chronobiology and give you even more crystallized data around your genetics and sleep. That’s yet to come.

Life circumstances. So, again, if you’re somebody who is going through a really stressful time, you’re going to need more sleep. If you’re an athlete, you’re going to lead more sleep. If you’re pregnant, you’re going to need more sleep. So, depending on what’s going on in your life, will definitely dictate how much sleep you should be getting.

Now, here’s the fun part. So, the National Sleep Foundation provided this amazing chart. It’s really simple, and it really is a great resource for people to identify, “Okay, well, based on where I am as far as my age, how much sleep should I be getting?”

So, a newborn should be getting between 14 to 17 hours of sleep, an infant, 12 to 15 hours of sleep, a toddler, between 11 to 14 hours of sleep, preschooler, 10 hours to 13 hours, from six to 13, around nine to 11 hours. For a teenager, eight to 10 hours, and for a young adult between seven and nine, for an adult, between seven and nine, and between … when you’re 65 or older, between seven and eight, so a little bit less sleep. You tend to need a little bit less sleep later on in life.

So, again, now these are just recommendations based off of your lifestyle, based off of your life circumstances, based off of your age. There’s so many factors that can determine how much sleep really is important for you, to be able to wake up feeling refreshed, feeling energized, feeling focused, feeling ready to take on the day.

And one way is to experiment with the duration of sleep, to find that sweet spot. Now, I know, for me, I’m an eight-hour guy, so I know my number, when I get eight hours, that’s my optimal number of hours.

Now, for some people, as you go through this experimentation process of trying to figure out, are you a seven-hour person or an eight-hour person or a nine-hour person, depending on which stage you wake up in, sleep stage, can also dictate how you feel when you wake up. So, if you’re used to waking up at a certain time and then, all of a sudden, you’re now getting more sleep, you might find that you wake up more groggy if you get more sleep. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t need more sleep. You might just be waking up in a different stage of sleep because your body’s used to a certain rhythm.

So, when you experiment, go ahead, just take that caveat into your mind, as you do it. But really, at the end of the day, you got to be open to experimentation. Most people don’t get enough sleep, so the average person really usually doesn’t get enough sleep. Most people could use a little bit more sleep.

And a little bit more sleep can actually go a long way in our cognitive performance, in our energy, in our ability to be present with people. So, it does make a big difference, as far as even just getting a couple more minutes of sleep. 15 more minutes of sleep could make all the difference. It’s definitely not wasted time.

So, let me know in the comments below if you have questions about this. If this is something that you’re currently experimenting with, and you have some questions on it, let me know the comments below. If you’re watching this on YouTube, if you’re listening to this on the podcast, subscribe and reach out to me on YouTube if you have questions or you’d like a specific video on something on sleep. If you’re on YouTube, also hit the bell, subscribe. Share this with someone who you think needs to hear it, and I will see you in the next episode.