Over the life cycle, our sleep needs and the amount of hours required to sustain a quality lifestyle vary as we develop and age.
Infants or newborn babies (up to 2 months) need 10.5-18 hours over a 24-hour cycle. Sleep is definitely a priority for new babies and they need a lot of sleep to grow and develop. Although sleep patterns will change, establishing a a regular schedule at this time and putting babies to bed early in the evening helps them get all the sleep they need.
From 2-18 months, the average baby requires 13-15 hours of sleep. From 2-6 months, most sleep will occur at night; from 9-12 months, a baby will be taking 2 naps a day and by 18 months, only 1 nap. Naps are independent of nighttime sleep and just as important.
Around 18 months and during the toddler or pre-school age, children need around 11-14 hours of sleep.
When children reach the age of 5 they need 10 hours at night. Most children give up a nap by the age of 5.
Recent research indicates that adolescents need about as much sleep as when they were younger, a minimum of 8 ½ hours to an average of 9 ¼ hours.
Although teens are often involved in more activities that deprive them of sleep and experience a lot of daytime sleepiness, sleep is just as important to their development.
Adults perform best with 7-9 hours although most adults get betwee 4 and 10 hours of sleep. Allow yourself to sleep naturally and without waking to an alarm clock, then observe how you function during the day. You need enough sleep to perform optimally during the day.
Contrary to a common myth, older adults need just as much sleep as younger adults; however, they often have more medical or sleep problems, they often do not sleep as efficiently due to pain, discomfort or disruptions and may not experience as much deep sleep as they age.