How much sleep do you REALLY need each decade?

How much sleep do you REALLY need each decade? Expert reveals the optimum amount per age – and the seven steps to improving your shut-eye for good

  • Sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo revealed the optimum amount of sleep per decade
  • She said when you are in your twenties, you need between 7 and 9 hours
  • As you move into your 30s, eight hours is the optimum number
  • When you head towards the menopause, the quality of your sleep will suffer 

We all know that eight hours is the recommended optimum amount of sleep, but is it really the same for each and every age group?

According to sleep specialist Olivia Arezzolo, the eight hour myth does have some truth, but in fact there is no one size fits all approach.

From your 20s all the way up to your 50s, Olivia shared with FEMAIL how much sleep you need based on your age and lifestyle.

So what should you be doing?

According to sleep specialist Olivia Arezzolo (pictured), the eight hour myth does have some truth, but in fact there is no one size fits all approach

How much sleep does a woman in her 20s need?

Your 20s are a key time to establish a healthy sleep routine, Olivia said, as it’s this time period that will often set up your habits for later life.

‘A woman in her 20s definitely needs somewhere towards the top end of 7-9 hours sleep,’ she told FEMAIL.

‘A recent Sleep Health Foundation of Australia study of 10,000 women found that those experiencing sleep difficulties were 10 times more likely to experience ongoing problems a decade later.’

The sleep expert recommends that you use your 20s to identify any sleep issues – whether it’s restless shut-eye or lack of sleep – so you don’t carry them into your 30s.

‘It’s also worth noting that you’re going to need a lot of sleep in your 20s when you take into account the typical lifestyle of a 20-something,’ she said.

‘You’re likely to be going out regularly, drinking alcohol often and using social media lots and often. 

‘All of these factors can easily mean your sleep is compromised and you’re exhausted before the day has even begun.’

Olivia’s top sleep tips for women in their 20s is that they try to ‘load up’ on rest time during the weekends and holidays.

‘It’s not an ideal solution, but it will help,’ she said.

Sleep total: Towards the higher end of 7-9 hours, ideally more than 8

By the time you move into your fourth decade, you’re likely to have established a more regular sleeping pattern and therefore you’re likely to have better sleep (pictured: Olivia Arezzolo)

What are the seven steps to perfect sleep?

1. Dim your lights in the evening and try to avoid any blue light emitted from phones or devices.

2. Stop hitting the snooze button as this only worsens the quality of your sleep. Get up as soon as your alarm goes off.

3. Avoid hot showers before bed as this can keep you awake. Instead, have a more lukewarm shower.

4. Disconnect yourself from all of your work as early as you can to avoid it seeping into your bedtime hours.

5. Try to avoid drinking at least four nights a week as this will lead to better quality sleep.

6. If you aren’t sleeping well, you should either ask someone for help or follow an online course to help to improve your sleep.

7. Try to eat a healthy diet and don’t eat too closely to going to bed. 

How much sleep does a woman in her 30s need?

By the time you move into your fourth decade, you’re likely to have established a more regular sleeping pattern and therefore you’re likely to have better sleep.

For this reason, Olivia said you can drop off an hour from your 9-hour sleep, and the ideal amount is eight hours.

‘You still need plenty of sleep during your 30s, as the 30s are typically seen as a time for work, family and external pressures – which can cause excessive stress, anxiety and even depression,’ Olivia said.

‘Academic research pinpoints a strong bi-directionality between insomnia and such mood disorders – they predict each other.’

She said eight hours is the optimum amount, but you don’t have to get all of this in one go.

Rather, you can break up your shut-eye between the day and evening. 

‘If you’re a new mum, try allocating space within your day for a 30 or 90-minute nap. You’ll feel happier and less stressed, which is a win for everyone.’

Sleep total: 8 hours, broken up into a nap and at night

How much sleep does a woman in her 40s need? 

As the 40s beckon, Olivia said so too does the menopause – which will leave a staggering 26 per cent of all women with ‘severe symptoms of insomnia that limit daytime functioning’.

‘If you haven’t yet hit the menopause, you can get away with around seven, but if you have you’ll need towards the higher end of 7-9 hours,’ Olivia said.

Sleep total: 7 hours if menopause not hit yet

By the time you enter your 50s, most women will have hit the menopause, which Olivia (pictured) said is disastrous for your sleeping patterns

How much sleep does a woman in her 50s need? 

By the time you enter your 50s, most women will have hit the menopause, which Olivia said is disastrous for your sleeping patterns. 

‘Evidence shows melatonin, the hormone to make you sleepy, is only produced under the presence of a cool body temperature, but hormonal fluctuations during menopause disrupt the circadian rhythm and cause women to awake in a fright around 3 or 4am,’ she said.

Try and get somewhere close to nine hours in bed, taking into account the discounted quality of sleep you might experience.

‘But remember that too much sleep can be as detrimental as too little,’ Olivia said. 

‘Research pinpoints it exacerbates the risk of obesity and depression exclusively.’

Too much sleep is anything over nine hours, so bear this in mind too. 

Sleep total: Close to 9 hours when you take into account discounted quality 

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