If you're like the majority of the population, you need to get more sleep. But no matter how groggy you felt after hitting the snooze button for the fifth time this morning, you'll probably go to bed at the same time tonight. Sleep is an easy thing to slap a big "I'll get to that later" onto.
But it's something you really shouldn't neglect — if you want to be your best mental, emotional, physical, most productive self. You know that. Everyone knows that. Yet somehow, 50 to 70 million Americans still suffer from sleep deprivation. The CDC actually labels it a national epidemic.
With the problem only worsening, the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) decided to take action. For the first time, the foundation has released a year-long multidisciplinary review of current literature on the field. The 18-member expert panel, comprised of six members appointed by the NSF and 12 selected by groups including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Neurological Association, announced new sleep recommendations.
Along with adjusting their previous recommendations for 14- to 17-year-olds, the panel also added two new categories: younger adults, ages 18-25, and older adults, over the age of 65.
They focused on sleep's impact on a range of factors, including memory, mood, performance, and also health conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.
And while the study authors acknowledge there will always be outliers, they urge Americans to consider these "rules of thumb":
- Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours each day (previously 12-18)
- Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours (previously 14-15)
- Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours (previously 12-14)
- Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours (previously 11-13)
- School-age children (6-13): 9-11 hours (previously 10-11)
- Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours (previously 8.5-9.5)
- Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours (new age category)
- Adults (26-64): Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours
- Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours (new age category)
Keep in mind, too, that too much sleep may be just as detrimental to your health as too little sleep, and that it's important to do more than just adhere to these guidelines. The panel also reminds people of the benefits of avoiding caffeine and alcohol in the hours before bed, exercising as a way to get more restful sleep, and the dangers of using your phone in bed.
And if your issue isn't getting into bed earlier but actually falling asleep, you might need to introduce a little Jeff Bridges into your life.