There are new recommendations for how much time people should spend snoozing.
The new guidelines, released by the National Sleep Foundation, include small changes to the recommended ranges for the amount of sleep that children and teens should get. Most of the new advice recommends wider sleep ranges than before. Now, there are also specific sleep ranges for young and older adults, as well as for middle-age adults. (Previously, the National Sleep Foundation had a single sleep recommendation for all adults.)
To come up with the recommendations, a panel of experts reviewed more than 300 scientific studies on sleep — including studies of the health effects of getting too little or too much sleep — that were published between 2004 and 2014. Here are the new recommended sleep duration ranges for each age group:
- Newborns (up to 3 months old): 14 to 17 hours a day. (Previously, the recommendation was 12 to 18 hours daily.)
- Infants (4 to 11 months): 12 to 15 hours. (Previously, the recommendation was 14 to 15 hours.)
- Toddlers (ages 1 to 2): 11 to 14 hours. (Previously, the recommendation was 12 to 14 hours.)
- Preschoolers (ages 3 to 5): 10 to 13 hours. (Previously, the recommendation was 11 to 13 hours.)
- School-age children (ages 6 to 13): 9 to 11 hours. (Previously, the recommendation was 10 to 11 hours.)
- Teenagers (ages 14 to 17): 8 to 10 hours. (Previously, the recommendation was 8.5 to 9.5 hours.)
- Younger adults (ages 18 to 25): 7 to 9 hours (new age category)
- Adults (ages 26 to 64): 7 to 9 hours (same recommendation as before)
- Older adults (ages 65 and older): 7 to 8 hours (new age category)
"The National Sleep Foundation Sleep Duration Recommendations will help individuals make sleep schedules that are within a healthy range. They also serve as a useful starting point for individuals to discuss their sleep with their health care providers," David Cloud, CEO of the National Sleep Foundation, said in a statement.
The panel also acknowledged that some people may naturally sleep for shorter or longer periods than the recommendations call for, without experiencing adverse health consequences. For this reason, the recommendations also include sleep ranges that "may be appropriate for some individuals." [How Much Sleep Do You Really Need? (Infographic)]
For example, although the NSF recommends that adults ages 26 to 64 sleep 7 to 9 hours, it may be appropriate for some people to sleep for as little as 6 hours, or as long as 10 hours, the guidelines say.
However, "individuals with sleep durations far outside the normal range may be engaging in volitional sleep restriction, or have serious health problems," the recommendations say.
Too little sleep has been linked with health problems, including obesity and high blood pressure, as well as decreased productivity and drowsy driving, the NSF says. Too much sleep has been linked with health conditions as well, including heart disease and premature death.
A full chart of the recommendations is available from the National Sleep Foundation. The guidelines were released yesterday (Feb. 2), and were published in Sleep Health: The Official Journal of the National Sleep Foundation.
The National Sleep Foundation is a non-profit organization that advocates for sleep-related research and education. It accepts funding from corporations invovled in healthcare and consumer products, but the organization says that it accepts such money only on an unrestricted basis, meaning the corporations giving the money do not influence the ideas and content published or promoted by the research.
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Rachael is a Live Science contributor, and was a former channel editor and senior writer for Live Science between 2010 and 2022. She has a master's degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a B.S. in molecular biology and an M.S. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has appeared in Scienceline, The Washington Post and Scientific American.