The Basics: Overview
Everyone needs to get enough sleep. Sleep helps keep your mind and body healthy.
How much sleep do I need?
Most adults need 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep on a regular schedule each night. Make changes to your routine if you can't find enough time to sleep.
Getting enough sleep isn’t only about total hours of sleep. It’s also important to get good quality sleep so you feel rested when you wake up.
If you often have trouble sleeping – or if you don’t feel well rested after sleeping – talk with your doctor.
How much sleep do children need?
Kids need even more sleep than adults.
- Teens need at least 9 hours of sleep each night.
- School-aged children need at least 10 hours of sleep each night.
- Preschoolers need to sleep between 11 and 12 hours a day.
- Newborns need to sleep between 16 and 18 hours a day.
The Basics: Health Benefits
Why is getting enough sleep important?
Getting enough sleep has many benefits. It can help you:
- Get sick less often
- Stay at a healthy weight
- Lower your risk of high blood pressure and diabetes
- Reduce stress and improve your mood
- Think more clearly and do better in school and at work
- Get along better with people
- Make good decisions and avoid injuries (For example, sleepy drivers cause thousands of car crashes every year.)
The Basics: Sleep Schedule
Does it matter when I sleep?
Yes. Your body sets your “biological clock” according to the pattern of daylight where you live. This helps you naturally get sleepy at night and stay alert during the day.
When people have to work at night and sleep during the day, they can have trouble getting enough sleep. When people travel to a different time zone, they can also have trouble sleeping.
Get sleep tips to help you:
The Basics: Trouble Sleeping
Why can’t I fall asleep?
Many things can make it harder for you to sleep, including:
- Certain health conditions
- Some medicines
- Caffeine (usually from coffee, tea, and soda)
- Alcohol and other drugs
- Untreated sleep disorders, like sleep apnea or insomnia
If you are having trouble sleeping, make changes to your routine to get the sleep you need. For example, try to:
- Follow a regular sleep schedule
- Stay away from caffeine in the afternoon
- Take a hot bath before bed to relax
The Basics: Sleep Disorders
How can I tell if I have a sleep disorder?
Signs of a sleep disorder can include:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Trouble staying asleep
- Sleepiness during the day that makes it difficult to do tasks like driving a car
- Frequent loud snoring
- Pauses in breathing or gasping while sleeping
- Pain or itchy feelings in your legs or arms at night that feel better when you move or massage the area
If you have any of these signs, talk to a doctor or nurse. You may need to be tested or treated for a sleep disorder.
To learn more about sleep disorders: