What Time Should You Go to Sleep Based on Your Age?

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The amount of sleep you need each night changes throughout your life. In fact, your sleep needs are closely related to your age.

This article explores how much sleep you need and your target bedtime at any age. It also discusses some common problems that prevent people from going to bed on time and falling asleep easily.

Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin

How much sleep do you need?

To decide your bedtime, it’s important to think about how much sleep you need to feel refreshed. That’s called your sleep need.

Some experts calculate your sleep needs according to your age. Your genes, environment, and health status can also affect the amount of sleep you need.

Sleep experts say adults should get between seven and nine hours of sleep, or eight hours on average, to optimize their health.

Some people are short sleepers or long sleepers. A short sleeper may be just as good if sleeping for less than seven hours. Long sleepers need more than nine hours to feel fully rested.

Children need more sleep than adults to feel fully rested. For young adults and those recovering from sleep debt, getting more than nine hours of sleep per night can be helpful.

Sleep deprivation, or not getting enough sleep, has been linked to depression, heart disease, obesity, weight gain, and other health problems.

Recommended by age

The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following:

  • Infant (0 to 3 months): An average of 14 to 17 hours of sleep per day, including naps, is recommended.
  • Infant (4 to 11 months): An average of 12 to 15 hours of sleep per day, including naps, is recommended.
  • Toddlers (12 to 35 months): Should average 11 to 14 hours, including naps.
  • Kinder Garten (3 to 5 years old): Should average 10 to 13 hours per day.
  • School-age children (6 to 13 years old): Should average 9 to 11 hours per day.
  • Teenager (14 to 17 years old): Should average 8 to 10 hours per day.
  • Younger adults (18 to 25 years old): Should average seven to nine hours per day.
  • Adults (26 to 64): Should average seven to nine hours per day.
  • Elderly (65 years and older): It is recommended to work seven to nine hours a day on average.

Set bedtime

To set a goal bedtime, decide when you need to wake up. Then count down the hours of sleep you need.

For example, if the desired wake-up time is between 7am and 8am:

  • Newborns can be put to bed when sleepy, between 7pm and 8pm
  • Toddlers can be put to bed between 7:00 and 9:00 p.m.
  • Kindergarten children can be put to bed at 8pm and 9pm

If your school or work schedule requires you to stay awake between 5am and 7am, here are suggested bedtimes:

  • School-age children should go to bed between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m
  • Teens should try to go to bed between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m
  • Adults should try to go to bed between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m

Regardless of age and sleep needs, having a consistent wake-up time, even on weekends, is important for better sleep.

Difficulties Meet Bedtime

It’s normal not to reach your target bedtime or to occasionally not go to bed on time. If difficulty falling asleep becomes a trend, you may be dealing with insomnia.

Insomnia in children

Children who have trouble falling asleep may be suffering from behavioral insomnia. There are two types of behavioral insomnia – sleep onset and limiting. Some children may have both types.

Sleep onset Insomnia in children

Sleep-onset insomnia usually means that a child has become dependent on certain routines or soothing objects and “needs” them to fall asleep. They may also need these routines if they wake up in the middle of the night.

One way to help your child relieve insomnia is to build your child’s ability to self-soothe. Some experts say you can try letting your baby “cry away.” There are two ways to do this. One way is to put the baby to bed and ignore his crying until morning. (Can check their health.)

Another way is to gradually increase the amount of time as you soothe your baby. For example, a parent can calm a crying baby every five minutes, then gradually lengthen this interval to ten minutes, then fifteen minutes, etc.

It’s important to note that experts disagree on the best way to help babies sleep independently. Some evidence suggests that when babies are born, the stress hormone cortisol rises and stays in their bodies for days afterward. Some parents also find the “cry it out” technique too stressful.

At least one study has shown that, 5 years after the “cry” period, there is no difference in sleep measures between babies whose parents allowed them to “cry”. was born” and the babies did not let them “cry to be born”.

Limit Insomnia in Children

Limiting insomnia most often occurs when caregivers do not set consistent rules for bedtime and keep a regular bedtime. The problem can get worse if the child begins to resist or resist the bedtime routine.

Setting boundaries is the best way to help curb insomnia. It might be a good idea to follow strategies like these:

  • Set and keep a consistent bedtime
  • Patiently say no to unreasonable demands before sleeping
  • Schedule a quiet activity 20 to 30 minutes before bed

Teenagers and Sleep

About 75% of teenagers don’t get enough sleep. Early start times, late-night social activities, digital device use, and alterations in sleep cycles all play an important role. The researchers found that neighborhoods where there isn’t enough greenery and too much noise can also delay sleep.

Insomnia in adults

For adults, insomnia can be hereditary. It may also be associated with sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression.

Insomnia can cause fatigue, daytime sleepiness, poor attention and concentration, low energy and motivation, and even an increased risk of suicide.

The good news is that there are several ways to treat insomnia in adults. Medicines can be helpful as a temporary solution. If you want to avoid medication, cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTI) is an effective option.

Elderly and Sleep

Insomnia can become more of a problem as you get older. The National Institute on Aging reports that menopause, restless legs syndrome, dementia, and sleep apnea can all keep you awake or disrupt your sleep after age 60. If you think a health condition may be keeping you up, talk to a healthcare professional or a sleep specialist.

Tips and tricks

You can more easily go to bed and sleep on time. Here are some strategies that may help.

A good sleeping environment

Your bedroom can help you fall asleep and sleep better. For most people, you should start with a quiet, cool, and dark room. You should also consider whether your mattress and bedding are hurting or helping you find a steady bedtime.

If your workspace is in the bedroom, try to minimize any visual stressors.

Night Process

Consistent bedtime routines and relaxation techniques can also help. A nighttime routine prepares your mind and body for sleep, helping you to relax before you rest.

Some people have had success with reading, listening to music, relaxing, or taking a bath. It is best to avoid overly stimulating activities before bed, like watching TV or exercising.

Cell phones and electronics should be avoided as much as possible. Artificial light from screens can change your sleep time and make it harder to fall asleep.

Hygiene good sleep

Good sleep hygiene begins during the day. Avoid napping during the day. They reduce your overall sleep debt, but they also reduce the motivation to go to bed.

You can also spend time outdoors, in sunlight, if possible. Studies show that exposure to outside light during the day can prevent delays in falling asleep. Of course, there is such a thing as too much exposure to daylight. This is especially true in the Arctic regions, where there is light at night during the summer.

You should limit caffeine and alcohol, both of which can disrupt sleep.

Once you’re in bed, limit brain-stimulating activities as much as possible. You want to associate your bed with sleep, not wakefulness. Are you trying to train your body? Bed mean sleep.


Just as your dietary needs change at different ages, so do your sleep needs throughout your life. Babies and young children have the greatest need for sleep. Teens also need extra sleep. Most adults need seven to nine hours a day.

If you’re not getting the recommended amount for your age, you may want to build a better sleep routine to easily reach your target bedtime. Short-term sleep aids can be helpful, but if you think you may have insomnia, talk to your healthcare provider. It is important for your overall health.

A very good word

Staying consistent with bedtime and wake-up times can be a challenge. It can help create a healthy sleep environment, maintain a bedtime routine, and practice good sleep hygiene.

If you want to know more about the optimal bedtime for you, consult a board-certified sleep medicine physician. The problem may be an underlying health condition, not your habits.

frequently asked Questions

  • How much sleep do adults need?

    Most adults are recommended to sleep seven to nine hours a day. However, these are general guidelines only and some people may need more or less sleep to feel fully rested.

  • How do I go to bed earlier?

    To go to bed earlier, create and implement a routine every night. Meditation, reading, and taking a warm bath can help you relax and get ready for sleep. Try to avoid using your phone or computer at least 30 minutes before bed, as the blue light emitted by electronic devices can make it harder to fall asleep. Avoid napping in the afternoon. When you’re getting ready for bed, turn off all lights in the room, make sure the room temperature is a bit cool, block out outside noise with earplugs or a white noise machine, and use your bed only for sleeping.

  • What time should I wake up?

    The time you should wake up will depend on your schedule and how many hours of sleep you need to feel fully rested. If you need to wake up at 8 a.m. to go to work at 9 a.m., the ideal time to go to bed is around 11 p.m. This amount can vary from person to person.

  • How many hours do children need to sleep?

    Children between the ages of 12 and 35 months (toddlers) should get 11 to 14 hours of sleep including naps during the day. Preschoolers between the ages of three and five should sleep 10 to 13 hours a day. School-age children between the ages of 6 and 13 should sleep about 10 or 11 hours a day.

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