Ask the Experts: How Much Sleep Do People Need?
Our Franciscan Physician Network sleep specialists answer your questions and share their expert insight to help you get a better night's rest.
How Much Sleep Do People Need?
Just like food, oxygen and water, sleep is necessary for survival. However, many individuals do not provide their body with the amount of sleep that is needed to function optimally. Recently, the National Sleep Foundation conducted an extensive two-year study to update the recommendations on how much sleep is needed for individuals throughout their lifespan.
Sleep requirements reduce gradually from the time we are born, to adulthood.
- Sleep needed by infants from 0 to 1 years of age range from 12 to 17 hours per day.
- Between the ages of 1 and 5, the amount of necessary sleep ranges between 11 and 14 hours per day.
- After age 5, the amount of sleep needed for optimal health ranges from 8 to 11 hours each day until age 18.
- After age 18, needed sleep is approximately 7 to 9 hours per night.
- After age 18, sleep needs don't decline any further as older adults over age 65 still need 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night.
What Can a Person Expect During a Sleep Study?
A sleep study, also known as a polysomnogram, records your brain waves, heartbeats and breathing as you sleep. It also charts the oxygen levels in your blood, as well as eye and limb movements.
As you are preparing for your sleep study, pack any items that you need for your nightly routine, such as pajamas, a toothbrush and toothpaste and reading materials.
During an in-lab sleep study, patients can expect a private sleeping room and will also have a bathroom available to them. Upon arrival, a sleep technologist will ask about your sleep habits and you may be asked to complete a pre-sleep questionnaire. The sleep technologist will attach sensors to your body. The sensors, which are glued or taped to you, monitor your body while you sleep. These sensors are painless and are long enough to let you move around and turn over in bed.
You are free to read or watch TV until your normal bedtime. When it is time for you to try to go to sleep, the lights will go off and a low-light video camera will allow the technologist to see you from a nearby room. If a sensor comes loose or you need to go to the bathroom during the night, the technologist will have to help you with the wires.
In the morning the technologist will test and then remove the sensors. The in-lab study is complete once you are awake and the sensors have been removed.
Tapan Desai, MD
Board certified in Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine
Franciscan Physician Network Hammond Clinic
Franciscan Physician Network Munster Medical Center
To learn more about sleep medicine services at Franciscan Health, click on the following topics: