How much sleep do I REALLY need?

Range of Motion Personal Coach, Jen Hunter, answers the most common questions we get asked about sleep.

Not getting enough sleep is well-known to reduce physical and mental performance. In addition, long-term sleep deficit is linked to increased chronic disease and mortality rates.

The age-old adage says that we all need eight hours of sleep per night, but what does this mean?

Does this mean eight hours of solid sleep?

Does this mean eight hours in bed?

Do naps add to the total?

Do sleep needs change with age?

Should I train if I didn’t sleep?

So many questions… here are some of the answers;

How much sleep do I need? So, it turns out that there is no magic number for sleep. Sleep needs vary depending on many factors, including genes, age and environment. The objective is to sleep an amount that leads to optimum levels of mental health, physical health and overall quality of life. For most people, the amount needed will fall within the recommended guidelines of 7-9 hours of actual sleep. For athletes, they will likely require even more sleep.

Do naps count? Naps count towards your sleep total! Naps are a great tool if you are falling short of reaching your night-time sleep total. In addition, naps have been found to improve physical and mental performance during the day. For most people, the optimum nap time is around 90 minutes, as it represents a complete cycle. However, even a short nap of 10-20 minutes can be beneficial.

Should you train if you didn’t sleep well the night before? Poor sleep will probably lead to poor performance. If you had a terrible sleep, you should adjust your training by reducing weight and intensity to minimise any risk of injury. That said, there is no reason not to train, and studies have shown that physical activity improves sleep quality and duration. As such, exercising should help you have a better night’s sleep.

Ultimately, sleep is an essential part of health and should be prioritised.

If you need any tips on improving your sleep, don’t hesitate to reach out to the knowledgeable team at Range of Motion.


Jen Hunter
Personal Coach
Certificate III & IV Fitness

Dan Williams

Dan Williams


Dan Williams is the Director of Range of Motion and leads a team of Exercise Physiologists, Sports Scientists, Physiotherapists and Coaches. He has a Bachelor of Science (Exercise and Health Science) and a Postgraduate Bachelor of Exercise Rehabilitation Science from The University of Western Australia, with minors in Biomechanics and Sport Psychology.

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