How many hours do adults need of sleep?

For adults, sleeping less than seven hours a night on a regular basis has been linked to health problems, including weight gain and having a body mass index. Sleep needs can vary from person to person, but in general, experts recommend that healthy adults sleep an average of 7 to 9 hours a night. While sleep needs vary slightly from person to person, most healthy adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night to function at their best. Children and teens need even more.

And despite the idea that our sleep needs decrease with age, most older people still need at least seven hours of sleep. Because older adults often have trouble sleeping so long at night, daytime naps can help fill that gap. Without enough hours of restful sleep, you won't be able to work, learn, create and communicate at a level even close to your true potential. Just because you can operate with six or seven hours of sleep doesn't mean you won't feel much better and can do more if you spent an extra hour or two in bed.

According to the National Institutes of Health, the average adult sleeps less than seven hours a night. If you normally need more than 8 or 9 hours of sleep a night to feel rested, it could be a sign of an underlying problem, Polotsky says. Researchers at the University of California in San Francisco found that some people have a gene that allows them to function well with six hours of sleep a night. However, when you're struggling to meet the demands of a busy schedule or simply find it difficult to sleep at night, getting by with fewer hours may seem like a good solution.

For adults, sleeping less than seven hours a night on a regular basis has been linked to health problems, such as weight gain, a body mass index of 30 or more, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and depression. If you sleep enough hours, you'll feel energetic and alert throughout the day, from the moment you wake up to your usual bedtime. If you've ruled out those conditions and you're still pressing the repeat button after 9 hours under the covers, it could be an indication that you have an underlying medical condition, such as heart disease, diabetes, or depression. What's important isn't just the number of hours you sleep, but also the quality of those hours.

A number of conditions can disrupt sleep or interfere with sleep quality, leaving you feeling tired and lazy even after spending 8 hours in bed, Polotsky says. People who sleep 6 hours or less each night get used to the effects of sleep deprivation, but that doesn't mean their body needs less sleep.