Where We Stand on Sleep (part 1)

For most humans, sleep would seem as natural as walking or breathing. After all, babies sleep an average of 16 hours a day. Unfortunately, as every parent knows, the hours they are awake, are the same hours mom and dad want to sleep.

Age ——————- Sleep Needs
Newborns ————– 15-18 hours
1-12 months ———– 14-15 hours
1-3 years ————– 12-14 hours
3-6 years ————– 11-13 hours
7-12 years ————- 10-11 hours
12-18 years ———— 8-10 hours

But our need for sleep decreases as we age. By adulthood,about 8 hours per night is recommended. Surprisingly this is about in the middle of the amount of sleep required for mammals.

Comparative average sleep periods for various mammals (in captivity) over 24 hours:

Experts say the hours are influenced by the need for nourishment, ability to hide from predators, and the number of predators that a mammal needs to fear.

This might make you feel a bit better when you sleeping next Sunday but according to Helena Riess, Ph.D. humans seem to be the only species that, by choice or habit,  don’t  seem to get enough sleep.


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