Getting enough quality sleep is incredibly important for your health and well-being. But how much sleep do you really need? Should you aim for 7.5 or 8 hours of sleep per night? The amount of sleep needed can vary slightly from person to person, but most experts recommend getting between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night for adults. Here’s a look at whether 7.5 or 8 hours of sleep per night is better.
Quick Answer: Aim for 7 to 8 Hours
Most adults do best with 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. If you regularly get 7 to 8 hours of sleep, you are likely meeting your body’s sleep needs. However, some people may need slightly more or less sleep. The best way to determine your ideal sleep duration is to pay attention to how you feel after different amounts of sleep. If you consistently feel well-rested and energetic on 7.5 hours of sleep, then that amount is likely right for your body. But if you need 8 hours of sleep to feel your best, then aim for that instead.
The Pros and Cons of 7.5 vs 8 Hours of Sleep
7.5 Hours of Sleep
- May be enough sleep for some people to feel well-rested
- Provides more waking hours in the day
- Linked to health benefits like lower BMI and reduced inflammation
- May not be enough sleep for some people
- Increases the risk of developing sleep deficiency over time
- May negatively impact focus, productivity, mood and cognition
8 Hours of Sleep
- Recommended amount for most adults
- Linked to health benefits like reduced stress, better memory and lower disease risk
- Decreases risk of sleep deficiency and related issues
- May be more sleep than some people need
- Provides less waking hours in the day
The Sleep Needs of Adults
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults aged 18-64 get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. But most adults seem to need around 7 to 8 hours to feel well-rested. Let’s take a closer look at sleep recommendations.
7 to 9 Hours Is Recommended
According to the National Sleep Foundation’s sleep guidelines updated in 2022:
- Adults ages 18-25 should get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per day.
- Adults ages 26-64 should also get 7 to 9 hours per day.
- Older adults ages 65+ should get 7 to 8 hours per day.
So experts recommend generally getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night as an adult. But most adults need around 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep. The exact amount needed can vary between individuals based on factors like genetics, age, and overall health.
The Majority Need 7 to 8 Hours
Research suggests that while sleep needs vary slightly, most adults do best with around 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night:
- A 2015 systematic review found that the majority of adults need 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
- According to a 2016 study, around 80% of adults report needing 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
- A meta-analysis found the optimal sleep duration for adults is between 7 and 8 hours.
So while sleep needs differ, current evidence indicates most adults need somewhere between 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
Are There Benefits to Sleeping 7.5 vs 8 Hours?
Getting adequate sleep, whether 7.5 hour or 8 hours, is linked to a variety of health benefits. But does one duration have more advantages? Let’s compare.
7.5 Hours of Sleep
Sleeping just 7.5 hours per night may have some potential benefits, but more research is needed:
- Lower BMI: A large study linked sleeping 7.5 hours to lower BMI levels.
- Reduced inflammation: One study found 7.5 hours of sleep was linked to lower inflammation markers.
- Increased alertness: Some, but not all, studies indicate better alertness with just 7.5 hours.
However, many studies find the biggest health benefits with at least 8 hours of sleep. More research is needed on 7.5 hours.
8 Hours of Sleep
Getting a full 8 hours of sleep per night has been associated with many health benefits:
- Boosts immunity: 8 hours of sleep may enhance immune function.
- Supports weight loss: Getting 8 hours of sleep can aid weight management.
- Reduces inflammation: 8 hours of sleep helps lower inflammation.
- Sharpens focus: 8 hours of sleep improves concentration, learning and productivity.
- Enhances mood: 8 hours of sleep helps regulate emotions and mood.
- Lowers disease risk: 8 hours of sleep is linked to reduced risk of health issues like obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
Research strongly supports getting 8 full hours of sleep for health and wellbeing.
Downsides of Not Getting Enough Sleep
If you regularly get less than 7 hours of sleep, you may be at risk for health and performance issues over time. Here are some potential downsides of inadequate sleep:
Impacts of Getting Less Than 7 Hours
- Increased obesity risk
- Higher inflammation
- Impaired memory and learning
- Increased accidents and errors
- Lower productivity and performance
- Worsened mood and motivation
- Weakened immune function
- Increased risk of chronic diseases
Effects of Long-Term Sleep Deficiency
Over time, regularly not getting at least 7 hours sleep can contribute to:
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Depression and anxiety
- Impaired brain function
It’s best not to regularly undersleep, as it can negatively impact nearly every system in your body when done long-term.
Tips for Getting 7 to 8 Hours of Sleep
Here are some tips to help you get 7 to 8 hours of quality shut-eye each night:
- Be consistent. Go to bed and wake up at the same times daily, even on weekends.
- Develop a relaxing pre-bed routine, like reading or taking a bath.
- Limit caffeine, alcohol and rich foods for 4-6 hours before bedtime.
- Avoid electronics and bright lights before bed.
- Make your bedroom cool, dark and quiet.
- Invest in a comfortable mattress and bedding.
- Exercise during the day but not right before bed.
- Reduce stress through yoga, meditation or relaxation techniques.
- Power down your worried mind by writing down thoughts before bed.
Focus on winding down both your body and mind for 1-2 hours before bed for better sleep.
The Bottom Line
Most experts recommend adults get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. But the sweet spot for the majority of adults seems to be around 7.5 to 8 hours of shut-eye. While 7.5 hours of sleep may be enough for some people to feel their best, getting a full 8 hours has been more consistently linked to health benefits.
The best approach is to pay attention to how you feel after 7.5 hours versus 8 hours of sleep. If you feel well-rested and perform at your best with just 7.5 hours, then that may be the right amount for you. But if you need a full 8 hours to feel focused and energized, then make sure to get that amount. Consistently getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep is optimal for health, energy and performance.
|7.5 Hours||8 Hours|
|Health Benefits||Linked to lower BMI and inflammation, but more research needed||Consistently associated with better health, immunity, disease risk, weight, mood and cognition|
|Downsides||May not be enough sleep for some, higher risk of sleep deficiency over time||Very little downsides for most adults|
Frequently Asked Questions
Is 7.5 or 8 hours of sleep better?
Most experts recommend getting between 7 to 9 hours of sleep for adults. However, 8 hours of sleep seems to be ideal for a majority of people to feel rested and reap the most health benefits. Some adults may do fine on just 7.5 hours, but others will not get enough sleep with this amount.
Is 7.5 hours enough sleep?
Getting just 7.5 hours of sleep may be enough for some adults to feel their best. But for many people, 7.5 hours is not enough sleep and can lead to fatigue and other issues over time. It’s generally recommended to get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night as an adult.
Is it OK to sleep 7 hours a night?
Sleeping just 7 hours per night is generally not recommended, but some adults may feel well-rested on this amount. Most experts advise getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. For long-term health and wellbeing, it’s best not to regularly sleep less than 7 hours.
Can you function on 7 hours of sleep?
It’s possible to function and get through the day on just 7 hours of sleep. But you may experience fatigue, lack of focus, irritability, and other issues. While adults can function on 7 hours, getting 7-8 hours is best for optimal daily performance.
Is it better to sleep 7 or 8 hours?
Sleep needs can vary slightly between adults. But for most people, getting a full 8 hours of sleep is better than just 7 hours. Research consistently shows the greatest health and performance benefits from around 8 hours of sleep versus 7 hours.
Getting adequate sleep is crucial for good health and daily functioning. For most adults, 7.5 to 8 hours per night seems to be the ideal amount of sleep. While some people do fine on just 7.5 hours of shut-eye, getting a full 8 hours may provide the greatest benefits for physical health, brain function, immunity, disease risk and mental wellbeing.
Pay attention to how you feel after 7.5 versus 8 hours of sleep. If you feel consistently well-rested on just 7.5 hours, then that amount may be right for your body. But if you require 8 hours to function optimally, make sure to get that full amount each night. Aim for 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep as much as possible for energy, performance and long-term health.