How much sleep do we really need? Well, it turns out that it ranges. And in more ways than one. An updated report recently published by the National Sleep Foundation reveals that it not only depends on your age group, but on your individual needs – needs that are impacted by factors such as your lifestyle and health.
A multi-disciplinary panel of experts was assembled to work on the two-year long study, which updated the National Sleep Foundation’s existing guidelines about how much sleep humans need at each age. In short, the report recommends wider appropriate sleep ranges for most age groups. The wider ranges have been added to acknowledge the individual variability in appropriate sleep durations.
The age categories that were updated include all of the “early life” groups spanning from infant to teenager. Two new age categories, “younger adults” and “older adults” were also added in the latest report.
What are the updated sleep duration recommendations by age?
- Newborns (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)
- Preschoolers (3-5 years): Sleep range widened by one hour to 10-13 hours (previously it was 11-13)
- School age children (6-13 years): Sleep range widened by one hour to 9-11 hours (previously it was 10-11)
- Teenagers (14-17 years): Sleep range widened by one hour to 8-10 hours (previously it was 8.5-9.5)
- Younger adults (18-25 years): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category)
- Adults (26-64 years): Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours
- Older adults (65+ years): Sleep range is 7-8 hours (new age category)
In a press release about the new report, Charles A. Czeisler, PhD, MD, chairman of the board of the National Sleep Foundation, chief of sleep and circadian disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Baldino Professor of Sleep Medicine at the Harvard Medical School stated, “This is the first time that any professional organization has developed age-specific recommended sleep durations based on a rigorous, systematic review of the world scientific literature relating sleep duration to health, performance and safety.”
The purpose of the new recommendations is to help individuals make sleep schedules that are within a healthy range for their age, as well as provide a guideline for parents and guardians about healthy sleep ranges for children.
Knowing the number of shut-eye hours you should be getting each night doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be able to achieve that goal. This can be due to a number of reasons – stress, a demanding work schedule, pain that prevents you from falling asleep and so on. But it is important to note that if snoring is the culprit causing you or a loved one to lose valuable hours of sleep at night, there are a number of ways that you can successfully treat this condition. What’s more, chronic snoring may actually be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea, a serious health condition characterized by repeated pauses in breathing during sleep.
Take our snore quiz and find out whether you’re at risk for sleep apnea.