Well+Good: How much sleep is enough isn’t exactly a simple question to answer, considering sleep needs by age change throughout a person’s life.

“As we get older, we start to need less sleep,” sleep expert Sophie Bostock, PhD, says in a video focused on how much sleep we need as we age. And according to guidelines from the National Sleep Foundation, that number depends on which of nine different stages of life a person is in: newborn (0 to 3 months), infant (4 to 11 months), toddler (1 to 2 years), preschool (3 to 4 years), school age (5 to 12 years), teen (13 to 17 years), young adult (18 to 25 years), adult (25 to-65 years), and older adult (65-plus years).

One big reason sleep needs by age shift has to do with the realities of being a growing human being. “Infants and children require more sleep than adults due to the processes that support neurological development and growth. Once we achieve adulthood, the requirement for sleep does not significantly change,” says sleep medicine doctor Tracey L. Stierer, MD, FAASM, an assistant professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Stierer adds that the guideline for folks over 18 is seven to nine hours of sleep, which decreases to seven to eight hours after age 65.

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