Myth# 3: Everyone Needs 8 Hours of Sleep

Sleep? What's that? I find myself asking myself this question A LOT lately. With having an infant and a toddler, let's just say sleep is lacking in my household. Sleep is one of the essentials to a vital living. We need sleep in order for our body to heal. That's what sleep is for, body recovery. Your cells need to replace and repair, your circadian rhythm needs to reset, and your brain needs to recoup. When I typically ask a large group how many hours of sleep they need, they all say 8 hours..In reality based on your cognitive development you may need more or less. Like anything, sleep should be individualized not generalized.

Recommendations are primarily separated by age, however based on health, healing, and development, your recommendations could vary by adding or subtracting an hour. Routine is also very important. Like babies, it's important to have routine that lulls you to sleep if you will. Whether that's reading a book or taking a bath around a similar time every night. Your sleep is guaranteed to improve.

Led by Harvard, a panel of experts reviewed more than 300 studies published between 2004 and 2014 to ascertain how many hours of sleep most people need in order to maintain their health. The recommendations they came up with are as follows:

Age Group    Recommended # of hours of sleep needed
Newborns (0-3 months)    14-17 hours
Infants (4-11 months)    12-15 hours
Toddlers (1-2 years)    11-14 hours
Preschoolers (3-5)    10-13 hours
School-age children (6-13)    9-11 hours
Teenagers (14-17)              8-10 hours
Young adults (18-25)    7-9 hours
Adults (26-64)    7-9 hours
Seniors (65 and older)    7-8 hours

When we average these numbers out, yes, most average around 8 hours, however I think it can be dangerous to assume that on infant or toddler falls in these guidelines. What these Harvard panelists decided is this:

“Sleep durations outside the recommended range may be appropriate, but deviating far from the normal range is rare. Individuals who habitually sleep outside the normal range may be exhibiting signs or symptoms of serious health problems or, if done volitionally, may be compromising their health and well-being.”