How much sleep do we really need?

We’re told to aim for at least 8 hours of sleep per night to function throughout the day, and reminded that anything less than 7 hours is within the danger zone. Between running busy lives and having social media as a new distraction, it feels as though we’re all getting less sleep than required…

We discovered that 8 hours of sleep per night isn’t a requirement for everybody after all, according to sleep experts. But how much sleep do we actually need? 

“Some individuals, short sleepers, only need seven hours while others, long sleepers, will need nine.” Chelsie Rohrcheib, Neuroscientist

Neuroscientist, Chelsie spills the tea on the hours of sleep we require: “Some individuals, short sleepers, only need seven hours while others, long sleepers, will need nine. Contrary to popular belief, it’s extremely rare for a person to require less than six hours of sleep per night, and those who make this claim about themselves are almost always chronically sleep deprived.”

“Importantly, do not push sleep to the bottom of your checklist. Make good quality sleep a priority.” Crystal Grant, Sleep Expert

Sleep Expert, Crystal Grant explained that the way to determine the right amount of sleep you need per night is to pay close attention to how you feel each day- do you feel sleepy, grumpy, lethargic, low on energy or just under the weather? Or maybe you need to run on lots of caffeine in order to cope? If so, it’s time to invest in more hours of sleep.

“Most adults between 18-64 years need seven to nine hours sleep per night.” Grant states.


“Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep, but there is a smaller percentage who may need slightly less or more sleep.” Gorica Micic, Sleep Expert

Sleep Expert, Gorica concludes that the average hours of sleep per night for adults is 7-9, depending on the needs of the individual. She also explained that age is a good indicator of the amount of sleep we need: “Our sleep need also declines with age, so newborn infants may need between 12 and 18 hours of sleep whereas older adults may only need six or seven hours.”

“Sleep is often viewed as a tradable commodity for work or social events, yet sleep is a vital building block of good health.” Hayley Meaklim, Psychologist

“Certain people function well on less than six hours, and can actually experience insomnia when aiming for eight hours every night. However, short sleepers are rare and current guidelines recommend adults get at least seven hours per night regularly to prevent health problems, such as heart disease or depression.”


“It’s important to figure out what works best for you and to prioritize sleep so you are getting enough every night.” Stephanie Centofanti, Psychologist

Psychologist, Stephanie explains how sleep needs can change depending on your current situation: “The amount of sleep we need to be functioning at our best can also change depending on prior sleep history (a period of sleep deprivation, illness, or high stress may mean you need more sleep than usual for a little while).”


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