How Many Hours of Sleep Do I Really Need?

How many hours of sleep do you really need each night to perform at your best?

Michael Roizen, M.D.

Michael Roizen, M.D.

As chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute of the Cleveland Clinic, Michael F. Roizen, MD, is on a mission to inform... Read more

A. The amount of sleep needed to function in top form is really an individual thing. The population as a whole should get between six and a half to eight hours of sleep each night. If you’re sleeping more than eight and a half hours, you’re a candidate for evaluation for depression. If you’re getting less than six and a half hours, you’re most likely sleep-deprived (so stay away from my traffic lanes, please). 


The quality of your sleep is just as important as the quantity. And if you want to be thinner, more productive and enthusiastic each day, start making sleep a priority. Why? Regular, restful sleep increases your levels of human growth hormone, which is directly linked to feeling rejuvenated and balanced, plus having more muscle mass and smoother skin.


As any happy snoozer will attest, sleep hygiene is key to getting your z’s: Make your bedroom a comfortable 68 degrees; use this room for two things only, sleep and sex (get that TV and computer out of there — couples without TVs and computers in the bedroom make love 50 percent more than couples with them); don’t eat a meal or drink alcohol within at least two hours before bed; meditate for 10 minutes if you need to slow yourself down (or even if you don’t)—the throne is always a quiet place if you can’t find any other. And go to bed at a reasonable time: That means figuring out first how long all of those things you do before bed take — making lunches, flossing your teeth, meditating, etc. — and then working from there to insure your seven or eight hours. Sweet dreams.