How many hours of sleep do I need?

It is bizarre how much emphasis humans put on achieving a balanced diet and exercising regularly, in order to be considered a healthy human being. Yet, ensuring we achieve quality sleep – is always overlooked. Sleep should be prioritised as much, if not more, than a balanced diet and exercise; as a lack of quality sleep can hinder both your diet, and ability to exercise.

We need sleep to survive, and to perform simple daily tasks and functions.

Technology is sky rocketing, we are becoming more dependent on stimulants such as coffee and diet drinks, day to day life is becoming more and more instant and fast paced, and therefore, we need to make a conscious effort to ensure we, and the younger generations after us, are successfully achieving good quality sleep.

 Here is a general guide for the number of hours of quality sleep you should be getting every night:

  • New-borns (0-3 months): Sleep range narrowed to 14-17 hours each day (previously it was 12-18)
  • Infants (4-11 months):Sleep range widened two hours to 12-15 hours (previously it was 14-15)
  • Toddlers (1-2 years):Sleep range widened by one hour to 11-14 hours (previously it was 12-14)
  • Pre-schoolers (3-5):Sleep range widened by one hour to 10-13 hours (previously it was 11-13)
  • School age children (6-13):Sleep range widened by one hour to 9-11 hours (previously it was 10-11)
  • Teenagers (14-17):Sleep range widened by one hour to 8-10 hours (previously it was 8.5-9.5)
  • Younger adults (18-25):Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category)
  • Adults (26-64):Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours
  • Older adults (65+):Sleep range is 7-8 hours (new age category)

As can be seen, the number of hours of sleep required by a human, changes as they get older; but it cannot be argued that in this booming, fast-paced technology era – most of us are probably sleep deprived, and cannot even recognise the signs, and have little memory of what it felt like to be well rested.

If you or a family member are experiencing symptoms such as interrupted breathing, snoring, sleepiness during the day, extreme fatigue, anxiety, depression, lack of sex drive, irritability, and frequent visits to the toilet during the night or waking with a dry mouth – there could be an underlying condition preventing you from achieving the quality sleep you crucially need – such as sleep apnoea.

What is Sleep Apnoea?

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is when breathing pauses and breathing restrictions repeatedly occur as your upper airway becomes obstructed. This is due to the relaxing of muscles and the subsequent collapse of the tissue surrounding the passageway. Generally preceded by snoring, these pauses and reductions in airflow are often followed by a gasping/choking sound as the brain reacts to the oxygen drop by momentarily waking you from your sleep. This can happen up to one hundred times every hour.

The whole process then repeats regularly as the person drifts off into a deeper sleep only to be aroused again soon after having another apnoea event. The individual is usually completely unaware of all this; rarely do they completely wake up but merely return to a lighter level of sleep. They then wake up still tired, having had little or no quality sleep

If you recognise any of these symptoms – then it worth seeking medical advice or sleep study from your GP or privately. There is treatment available for Sleep Apnoea, which could transform your sleep health, and overall well being. This is called CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) and has proved the most effective treatment for Sleep Apnoea.

Sleep is invaluable, and should be prioritised alongside eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly.

Do I need a humidifier for my CPAP?

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is proven to be the most effective treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA). And the most frequently added feature is a humidifier. CPAP users can experience dryness of the nasal and throat passages, which is caused by cold and moisture-less air. This is particularly common for mouth breathers, who use a full face or oral mask. A humidifier will add moisture to the air from the CPAP, therefore preventing this dryness and irritation, and increasing the effectiveness of CPAP therapy.

As we approach winter, the air is getting much colder. Therefore, the air being supplied to your CPAP, will also become colder. Cold air holds much less moisture than warm air, and therefore can increase the chances of dryness and irritation. CPAP users have the option to increase their comfort, through various means to warm up the air they receive through their CPAP.

As discussed, a large number of CPAP users will opt to use a humidifier alongside their CPAP machine. This will add both moisture and warmth to the air being supplied. An issue that can occur whilst using a humidifier is ‘rainout’ in the CPAP tubing. This is because as moist and warm air leaves the CPAP machine and travels down the tubing towards the CPAP mask, the colder air surrounding the tubing causes the warm air inside the tube to release its moisture, causing gurgling noises in the tube, and condensation on the CPAP users face.

In order to reduce the possibility of ‘rainout’ occurring, CPAP should follow some of the following tips.

  • Increase the temperature of your bedroom, in order to reduce the temperature difference between the hose and the room.
  • Keep your CPAP machine at the same level, or lower than your bed.
  • Lower the temperature setting of the humidifier.
  • Cover your tubing with your bedding.
  • Get yourself a Fleece Tube Wrap to keep your tubing warm and protected.
  • Get yourself a Heated Breathing Tube.

Not every CPAP user requires a humidifier. However, if you are experiencing a dry mouth, nose, or any irritation in either of these areas – it may be worth considering trying one. More information about individual products can be found here.

Travelling with your CPAP

Nowadays, with increasing awareness of sleep apnoea, and innovating developments in all sorts of technology, travelling worldwide with a CPAP machine has never been easier.  Gone are days of lugging round ridiculously huge, weighty machines; as some of the newest machines are so small and lightweight, they fit comfortably in the palm of your hand. With some of the universal products available on the market today, there is no need to go a night without your CPAP machine ever again.

Here is some invaluable advice and tips for your next adventure!

  • Just as you would your boarding passes, passports, health insurance - keep a copy of your medical documentation handy. Although most airport staff will be familiar with a CPAP machine, have this with you, just in case.
  • Check you have the correct power adaptors for the country you are travelling to.
  • Invest in a second, smaller CPAP machine, for the sole purpose of travel, such as the Transcend CPAP Machine. I will remove the additional stress and effort involved with packing up your more heavy duty home machine.
  • Take replacement parts with you. It is always the way that your mask cushion will give up on you – when you’re on the other side of the world!
  • Research a CPAP therapy supplier in the country you are travelling to. Some suppliers such as Intus Healthcare, can ship across the entirety of the EU, to wherever you may be staying.
  • Bring a battery pack with you. There will be no need to worry if you cannot access a power outlet, or if there is a power outage. A battery pack is also a great idea for camping.
  • If you’re flying – take your CPAP on as carry-on. It is medical equipment and therefore will not count towards your carry-on allowance. You will not have to worry about it potentially getting lost or damaged.
  • If you’re flying – try to get to the airport a bit earlier than recommended – this will allow time for the checks at Security – and leaving enough time to get to the Duty Free!
  • If you’re flying – and have any concerns – contact the airline prior to your flight. Just double check and avoid any last minute panic!
  • If you arrive in a hotel and there are no power sources near your bedside – contact reception for a power extension cable.
  • If you’re travelling by car – there are power cables available that plug straight into your cigarette lighter port.

You can find more advice and discussions regarding travelling with CPAP on our website and CPAP forum:

There is no need to let travel get in the way of your CPAP therapy and your health. Whether you are travelling by car, train, boat, aeroplane, canoe, horseback, foot – there is a way to maintain your CPAP therapy and keep you feeling your best whilst on your latest adventure!