Studies have shown that the average amount of sleep per day varies by age. Newborns sleep up to 18 hours a day; infants from 1-12 months of age sleep from 14 to18 hours a day; toddlers from 1-3 years of age sleep from 12 to 15 hours a day; young children from 3-5 years of age sleep from 11 to 13 hours a day; children from 5-12 years of age sleep from 9 to 11 hours a day; adolescents sleep from 9 to 11 hours a day; and, adults sleep from 7 to 8 hours a day.
A University of California, San Diego, psychiatry study of more than one million adults found that people who live the longest self-report sleeping for six to seven hours each night. Assuming you live to be 70 years of age, you will have slept about 23 years.
Mature cats and dogs sleep from 12-14 hours per day, but they wake up more frequently than people do. A brown bat sleeps an average of 20 hours a day, a squirrel 15 hours, a lion 13 hours, a mouse 12 hours, a chimpanzee 10 hours, a seal 6 hours, a cow 4 hours, a horse 3 hours, and a giraffe 2 hours. Some animals are diurnal (humans, bears, bees) and some are nocturnal (opossums, toads, owls).
How long do people meditate for? The vast majority of adult human beings meditate while sleeping 7 to 8 hours a day. Most people don't do any additional meditation in seated or supine positions because they are just two darn busy with earning a living and maintaining a household. Most meditation teachers recommend we spend a minimum of 30 minutes a day in silent seated meditation; but, most people ignore this advice.
I like to sit on a bench in my garden for short while each day and "meditate," i.e., smile and look at the beautiful plants, and slip into mystical reveries. I also enjoy sitting and reading and writing, and some call this kind of scholarly activity a form of mediation or spiritual practice (Taoist Literati). We old retired Druid scholars, country gentlemen, have more time for this sort of activity. I think I am awake while doing these "meditations," but sometimes I'm not so sure.
Eckhart Tolle, in his book The Power of Now, said, "Later I also learned to go into that inner timeless and deathless realm that I had originally perceived as a void and remain fully conscious. I dwelt in states of such indescribable bliss and sacredness that even the original experience I just described pales in comparison. A time came when, for a while, I was left with nothing on the physical plane. I had no relationships, no job, no home, no socially defined identity. I spent almost two years sitting on park benches in a state of the most intense joy." (p.5) Two years sitting on park benches in bliss! Talk about living a dream, Wow!! Was he "fully conscious" in a world of blissful dreaming for two years, or daydreaming for two years? Some rich drug addicts have spent 5 years sitting on park benches in bliss. In our sleep, everyone experiences an inner timelessness, no job, no socially defined identity, nothing, a void .... and nearly all of us want to, need to, and crave entering that universe of consciousness every night; and, we keep our day jobs to pay the way for ourselves, our families, and for charity for the hobos who sit on park benches in bliss.
I know that some people will be annoyed by my comparison of sleeping and meditating. Doesn't that fool Mike know the obvious difference between the two? Why is he playing this game?
Well, I will get back to you after I sleep on it.