Best Times to Sleep Based on Your Age, According to Experts

Ever wonder why you’re tossing and turning at night, even when you think you’ve got your sleep schedule down pat? Well, it turns out that the perfect bedtime isn’t one-size-fits-all. As we grow and change, so do our sleep needs. Sleep experts have cracked the code on the best times to hit the hay, based on your age.

In this blog, I will share the expert-backed bedtimes that could be the key to waking up refreshed and ready to tackle your day. Whether you’re a night owl or an early bird, stick around to find out if your current sleep routine is giving you the rest you really need.

Babies (0-3 months)

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Newborns need a lot of sleep – about 14 to 17 hours a day! They don’t have a set sleep schedule yet, so they’ll snooze in short bursts throughout the day and night. The National Sleep Foundation says it’s normal for babies this age to wake up every 2-3 hours to eat. Don’t worry if your little one’s sleep seems all over the place – their internal clock is still developing.

Toddlers (1-2 years)

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Toddlers typically need 11 to 14 hours of sleep, including naps. The best bedtime for most toddlers is between 6:30 PM and 7:30 PM. A study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that toddlers who went to bed before 9 PM were less likely to be overtired and had better overall sleep quality. Stick to a consistent bedtime routine to help your little one wind down.

School-age children (6-13 years)

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Kids this age need 9 to 11 hours of sleep. The ideal bedtime is usually between 7:30 PM and 9:00 PM. Children who get enough sleep have better attention, behavior, learning, memory, and overall mental and physical health.

It is advised to limit screen time before bed—the blue light can interfere with sleep. Encourage physical activity during the day, but not too close to bedtime, and keep bedtimes consistent, even on weekends, to maintain a healthy sleep rhythm.

Teenagers (14-17 years)

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Teens need about 8 to 10 hours of sleep. Their bodies naturally want to stay up later and sleep in longer. The National Sleep Foundation suggests a bedtime between 10:00 PM and 11:00 PM for teens. A study in the journal Sleep found that only about 15% of teens get the recommended amount of sleep on school nights. Encourage your teen to stick to a regular sleep schedule and limit screen time before bed.

Adults (18-64 years)

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Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep. The best bedtime varies, but aiming for between 10:00 PM and midnight usually works well. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule, even on weekends, Create a restful environment – cool, dark, and quiet, and Avoid large meals, alcohol, and intense exercise close to bedtime.

Older adults (65+ years)

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Seniors typically need 7 to 8 hours of sleep. Many older adults find themselves getting sleepy earlier in the evening, around 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM. It’s common for older adults to wake up earlier too. If you’re having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor – about 40% of older adults have insomnia symptoms. Sometimes, sleep issues can be related to medications or underlying health conditions.

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Victoria Omololu

Victoria Omololu is a fashionista exploring the world on a budget. She co-founded Only Earthlings in 2023 to show her travels in North America, Europe, Africa, and everywhere else. Victoria loves writing about travel tips, itineraries, packing guides, and taking photography from all over the world.

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