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How much sleep should you really be getting?

The amount of sleep we each need depends on us as individuals. Find out what’s right for you. When it comes to sleep, what many of us worry about the most is how much of it we’re getting – and whether it’s enough. But how much do we actually need, and what time of day, or night, should we be getting it?

A black alarm clock on a bedside table.
A black alarm clock on a bedside table.
The amount of sleep we require is partly determined by our genetics, which means it’s unique to each of us

Dr Guy Meadows, Sleep School

A bedroom with wooden bed frame, and neutral soft furnishings.

The right amount for you
Although it can vary, most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep a night, some only need as few as four and others need as many as 10. The way to know if you’re getting the right amount for you is to think about whether you wake up feeling refreshed and have enough energy to get you through to the following bedtime.

A young girl jumping on a white double bed.

What time is bedtime?
When you should be going to bed is largely based on how much sleep you need and what time you wake up. Differences in our genetics cause small variations in when we naturally want to sleep and wake, but around 75 per cent of the population get their shuteye between 10.30pm and 6.30am.

A man and a woman relaxing on a sofa.

Early to bed vs late risers
People who prefer to go to bed late and get up late – often referred to as ‘night owls’ – make up 15 per cent of the population, with ‘early birds’ accounting for the rest. Whichever one you are, try to listen to your body and keep to your natural sleep and wake timings on a regular basis. Which will help ensure quality sleep and more daytime energy.

A woman stretching her arms above her head in a bed.

Working it all out
If you’re struggling to decide which kind of sleeper you are, try keeping a sleep diary. Note down key points after each night, such as what time you went to bed and woke up, how long it took you to fall asleep, how well you slept and how you felt the next day. This should reveal patterns that help you figure out your individual sleeping needs.

For more sleep inspiration and tips on how to improve your bedroom environment, visit our dedicated sleep hub.