A woman who is sleeping

Sleep and Dreaming

Sleep is an essential pillar of wellness, yet getting a proper night's rest on a regular basis is no easy feat. Whether we're battling a sleep disorder, physical illness, or anxious thoughts, plenty of factors can impact our ability to sleep well.

Learn more about what your dreams might be telling you, how to develop better sleep habits, and how your mind uses the downtime to work through unresolved or even unknown issues and feelings.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much sleep do you need by age?

    The amount of sleep we need can vary depending on our age. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists the amount of sleep we need, by age:

    • Newborns (0 to 3 months old): 14 to 17 hours of sleep per day (including naps)
    • Infants (4 to 12 months old): 12 to 16 hours of sleep per day (including naps)
    • Toddlers (1 to 2 years old): 11 to 14 hours of sleep per day (including naps)
    • Preschoolers (3 to 5 years old): 10 to 13 hours of sleep per day (including naps)
    • School-age children (6 to 12 years old): 9 to 12 hours of sleep per day
    • Teenagers (13 to 18 years old): 8 to 10 hours of sleep per day
    • Adults (19 to 60 years old): 7 or more hours of sleep per day
    • Adults (61 to 64 years old): 7 to 9 hours of sleep per day
    • Adults (65 years and above): 7 to 8 hours of sleep per day
  • How can I sleep instantly?

    In order to fall asleep faster, you'll need to retrain your body and develop better sleep habits. Some of the habits to change include not reading and watching TV in bed, altering your behaviors in the hour leading up to sleep, and working on evening eating habits. Some skills you will develop include relaxation, not languishing in bed, and exposing yourself to more daylight.

  • Does dreaming mean good sleep?

    It is possible to experience fragmentary dreams in non-REM sleep. This includes the lighter stages of sleep (called stage 1 and stage 2) and slow-wave sleep (called stage 3). It is believed that the dream content of non-REM is more simplistic. If REM-related dreams are a movie, non-REM dreams may be likened to a photograph.

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Page Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How much sleep do I need?

  2. Martin, J et al. Structural differences between REM and non-REM dream reports assessed by graph analysisPLOS One. 2020 July. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0228903

  3. Cleveland Clinic. Sleep basics.