How many hours of sleep do I need – is 4, 5 or 6 hours enough?

How many hours of sleep do I need – is 4, 5 or 6 hours enough?
How many hours of sleep do I need – is 4, 5 or 6 hours enough?
A healthy sleeping pattern is important to maintaining a healthy life (Picture: Getty)

We’ve all been told we’ve woken up on the wrong side of the bed – but just how much sleep does our body actually need?

Whether you’re a night owl or an early riser, we all need a good night’s sleep to ensure we stay healthy and remain in a good mood.

But what do the experts say about how much sleep we need? is here to help.

How many hours of sleep do I need?

The general opinion is the more sleep you get, the more rested you’ll feel the next day.

A man and woman sleep in bed - the man is wearing an eyemask
Are you a night owl or an early riser? (Picture: Getty)

Naps will sometimes give us a boost but can also leave us feeling groggy, so getting a good night’s rest at night is the most important thing.

Hafiz Shariff, founder of mattress experts Owl and Lark, told ‘The science is now fairly settled that most adults consistently need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. Within reason, the longer you can sleep, the better.

‘Your REM sleep, where most of your dreaming happens and which has a part to play in memory formation and emotional processing, increases later in the night – so cutting sleep short may be robbing you of really important cognitive benefits.

‘While some people do need more sleep than others, most of us need more sleep than we’re getting. It’s estimated that as many as a 1/3 of UK adults aren’t getting enough.

‘Most of us have no idea how much sleep we really need because we supplement with light, stimulants and depressants (like alcohol) that pull us away from our natural rhythm.’

Do some people need more sleep than others?

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In short, yes.

While there are several lifestyle factors involved such as working hours and commitments for new parents, everyone needs a suitable amount of sleep that works for them.

‘We’re all wired differently and our individual requirements will all vary,’ performance coach David Osgathorp of Pro Sport Lab told

‘But, I believe it’s not about quantity, rather the quality of sleep we are able to achieve.

‘Someone who spends 8-10 hours in bed each night but visits the toilet three times and sleeps next to their phone will probably be less rested than someone who has six and a half hours of undisturbed sleep.

‘Whatever someone may tell you, we all need more than four hours per night!’

How to survive on little sleep

Woman in bed, covering her face with pillow
As many as a 1/3 of UK adults aren’t getting enough sleep (Picture: Getty)

It’s a common problem we all wonder at some point in our lives and drinking litres of Red Bull isn’t the answer.

‘You can survive on less than 6 hours if you develop a caffeine addiction, work in a job that doesn’t challenge you, have a partner you don’t live with and have very few friends!’ Osgathorp adds.

‘But if you want to do more than just survive, then you need to prioritise sleep!

A woman falls asleep with her phone in her hand
It’s important not to have any distractions when you go to bed (Picture: Getty)

‘We’ve all moved on from the badge of honour culture where you need to be first one in and last one out of the office. And telling all of your friends how busy you are isn’t something to be proud of.

‘We should all be able to work smarter, not harder. If you can’t get your work done in 8-10 hours, you have too many distractions and the irony is, your inability to focus is probably due to your sleep deprivation!

How long should you nap for if you need sleep?

A man is asleep on the tube
A 20 minute nap on the way to work could work wonders (Picture: Getty)

There’s also a recommended optimal nap time too!

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the best nap lengths for adults are 20 or 90 minutes.

A power nap of between 10 and 20 minutes allows you to wake up feeling refreshed, energised, and alert.

Power naps also have the beauty of not impacting what time you go to bed of an evening. so you can head to sleep at your usual bedtime without any difficulty dozing off.

A nap of around 90-minute help you to cycle through all sleep stages while avoiding sleep inertia, since you’re not waking up during deep sleep.

You will wake up feeling rejuvenated, more creative, more focused, and more physically energised.

MORE : Google’s next smart device could use radar to track your sleep

MORE : The best sleep aids from weighted blankets to bath salts

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Author: Dan Gibbs