"I am sick and tired of being sick and tired." — Fannie Lou Hamer

Why do I need sleep?

Sleep is a basic human need. Adequate sleep helps us feel better. Following a good night of sleep, we feel active, alert, energetic, and happier. However, night after night of short or disrupted sleep will affect our ability to do our daily activities and reduce our quality of life.

If you are concerned that you might not be getting enough sleep, download the Stanford Sleepiness Scale​ for a quick way to assess how alert you are feeling. The next time have a visit with your primary care provider, take it with you!

Quick facts on the importance of getting enough sleep:

  • Less than seven hours per night is associated with obesity. The shorter the sleep, the higher the BMI. Sleep loss also undermines weight loss efforts, partly because it affects hormones associated with satiety and hunger.
  • People with less than five hours of sleep per night are 2.5 times more likely to have diabetes and 15% higher rate of all-cause mortality compared to those who sleep seven to eight hours. Besides diabetes, sleep apnea is also associated with high blood pressure and increased stroke risk.
  • In an Institute Of Medicine report, naps early in the day (of two hours or less) can be helpful, but weekend "catching up' on sleep doesn't return people to baseline functioning.

How much sleep do you need?

  • Newborns (1-2 months): 10.5-18 hours
  • Infants (3-11 months): 9-12 hours per night, plus 1-4 daytime naps for 30-120 minutes
  • Toddlers (1-3 years): 12-14 hours
  • Preschoolers (3-5 years): 11-13 hours
  • Children (5-12 years): 10-11 hours
  • Teenagers (12-17 years): 8.5-9.25 hours
  • Adults: 7-9 hours
  • Older adults: 7-9 hours

How do I get healthy sleep?

  • Make regular, sufficient sleep a daily wellness priority.
  • Practice sleep habits that support a good night's sleep.
  • Use the Stanford Sleepiness Scale to track your sleepiness during the day. This tracking tool will help you know how well your sleeping habits are working for you.
  • Consult with your primary care physician if you continue to have sleep problems.