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 on a regular schedule 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 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night.
- School-aged children need 9 to 12 hours of sleep each night.
- Preschoolers need to sleep between 10 and 13 hours a day (including naps).
- Toddlers need to sleep between 11 and 14 hours a day (including naps).
- Babies need to sleep between 12 and 16 hours a day (including naps).
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 for serious health problems, like diabetes and heart disease
- 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 accidents 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.
If you have to work at night and sleep during the day, you may have trouble getting enough sleep. It can also be hard to sleep when you travel to a different time zone.
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, like heartburn or asthma
- 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, try making changes to your routine to get the sleep you need. You may want to:
- Change what you do during the day – for example, exercise in the morning instead of at night.
- Create a good sleep environment, which includes making sure your bedroom is dark and quiet.
- Set a bedtime routine – and go to bed at the same time every night.
The Basics: Sleep Disorders
How can I tell if I have a sleep disorder?
Sleep disorders can cause many different problems. Keep in mind that it’s normal to have trouble sleeping every now and then. People with sleep disorders generally experience these problems on a regular basis.
Common signs of sleep disorders include:
- Trouble falling or staying asleep
- Difficulty getting out of bed after a good night's sleep
- Sleepiness during the day that makes it difficult to do everyday activities, like driving a car
- Frequent loud snoring
- Pauses in breathing or gasping while sleeping
- Itchy feelings in your legs or arms at night that feel better when you move or massage the area
- Trouble moving your arms and legs when you wake up
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: