Is Seven Hours Enough? Here’s How Much Sleep We Actually Need

Is seven hours enough? Here’s how much sleep we actually need, based on the latest research for children to adults. Read more to enhance your sleep health. 


In today’s world, getting enough sleep can be a real challenge. Between work, family obligations, and more, we all have mornings where we wake up feeling like we need more shut-eye. But how much sleep do we actually need? Some people only average seven hours a night, but is seven hours enough? Luckily, we have the answer for you!

In this article, we’ll discuss how much sleep we actually need, diving into some of the latest research on sleep. We’ll even uncover how much sleep you need based on your age, from infants to adults, to ensure that you know how much sleep you should aim for in the future. Finally, we’ll also touch upon why getting enough sleep is so important and what you can do to get adequate sleep. 

Let’s get into the first topic: what is the ideal amount of sleep?

What is the Ideal Amount of Sleep?

While you and your friend might feel differently about how much sleep you need, research shows that there is an ideal amount of sleep. An article in the Journal of Clinic Sleep Medicine shared that adults typically need between seven to nine hours of sleep per night to feel rested. On the other hand, the same study presented proof that older adults only need about seven to eight hours of sleep. 

This is good news for those of us who only get seven hours of sleep, as that is roughly the bare minimum that we all need to feel rested. However, it’s important to recognize that each person might need a different amount of sleep based on their activity level, stress in their life, and even other factors. 

Take elite athletes, for example. One study from PubMed showed that this demographic needs an average of 8.3 hours of sleep to feel well-rested, but many of them only get around 6.7 hours of sleep and feel sleepy upon waking up. 

As you can see, the ideal amount of sleep offers a range to aim for, but you might need a different amount of sleep compared to those in your life. This also differs when looking at your age because children and adolescents tend to need more sleep than adults. 

The Ideal Amount of Sleep for Children and Adolescents

Compared to adults, children and teens need more sleep because they have different needs. This is because of their development and growth. Just like adults, sleep matters for children and teens, as discussed in an article in Sleep Medicine Reviews

In the article, the researchers showed that infants need an average of twelve to sixteen hours of sleep, while children will slowly roll back how much sleep they need as they get older. However, in most cases, children need about eight to ten hours of sleep to feel rested and to help their development. 

By the time people reach their teen years, sleep requirements are closer to eight to ten hours per night, with the minimum, on average, being 9.3 hours of sleep per night. Unfortunately, not even teens or kids sometimes get enough rest. Even worse, not getting enough sleep can be harmful to our health.

What Happens If I Don’t Get Enough Rest?

#1: We Feel Sleepy When We Should Be Awake

If we don’t get enough rest, we will feel the effects! Studies have shown just how bad poor sleep, or lack thereof, is for us. Sleep is what helps us keep our circadian rhythm, or rather helps us stay on schedule with optimal waking and sleeping hours. It’s what helps us wake up when the sun is rising over the horizon and what makes us feel sleepy when the sun has set, and it’s quieting down for the night (Source: The Royal Society Publishing).  

Getting enough sleep means that we feel more energized, rested, and prepared for the day when our alarm goes off and we see the morning light outside. However, if we don’t get enough sleep, early mornings can be difficult and disorienting, and they can even lead to harmful stress and lowered levels of performance – both physically and mentally!

#2: We May Get Sick More Often

We may not feel the effects immediately, but over time, higher levels of stress and cortisol can hurt us. We may feel it as increased heart rates, blood pressure, and even in the way that we get sick more often than we used to because our immune system weakens. If you’ve ever had an upset tummy from not sleeping well, then you know that not getting enough sleep can mess with both our digestion and our cognition. In other words, it’s not just about eating right but also about sleeping right, too (Source: PubMed). 

#3: Our Memory and Cognition May Be Affected

Mentally, lack of sleep can reduce our memory and make our mental performance worse than before. For those in school, this can come in the form of poor test scores and recall of important details. For work, it could be the difference between an exceptional board meeting and one where you feel unprepared and sleepy. That’s why it is important for us to find ways to support our ability to get enough sleep. 

How to Ensure Adequate Sleep

If you find yourself struggling with getting enough sleep, there are some easy ways to get yourself back on track and on the way to feeling more rested when you wake in the morning.

One of the easiest ways to ensure you get enough sleep is to go to bed at the same time every night. This is as easy as shutting off your electronics, lying in bed, and even showering for a certain hour. You can also use Pillow to track your sleep to ensure you stay on schedule and get quality rest.

As with your overall health, you are what you eat! Ensure that you get enough healthy nutrients, hydration, and more throughout the day. This also means not having caffeine in the evening to ensure you are ready to sleep later, as well as getting enough exercise and mitigating your stress. These easy tips can help you improve your sleep tenfold!

How Will You Improve Your Sleep?

It’s so important that we all get enough sleep. No matter if you struggle with insomnia or simply want to achieve an extra hour of sleep to feel more energized, there are so many ways that you can ensure you feel rested and ready for your day. To track your sleep to ensure you’re on the right path, download Pillow now to take advantage of data that will improve your energy and overall health. 



Written by

Georgia Austin

Professionally trained copywriter, editor, and content marketing strategist with over 7 years of experience—working with brands like Nike, Siemens, Toshiba, Tommy Hilfiger, Culture Trip, and Klook.

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