The National Sleep Foundation changes snooze recommendations

Think you’re getting enough sleep at night? You might want to take a look at the updated sleep recommendations released this month. For the first…

The National Sleep Foundation has released new recommendations. (Shutterstock)

Think you’re getting enough sleep at night? You might want to take a look at the updated sleep recommendations released this month. For the first time ever, an expert panel has defined recommended sleep times based on a review of the current scientific research existing in the field, and chances are those seven hours aren’t enough.

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“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,” Charles A. Czeisler, PhD, MD, chairman of the board of the National Sleep Foundation, said in a statement.

“The National Sleep Foundation is providing these scientifically grounded guidelines on the amount of sleep we need each night to improve the sleep health of the millions of individuals and parents who rely on us for this information.”

Current recommendations from the panel are as follows:

  • 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): 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).

Though it may not seem like much of a change for some age groups, children, especially newborns and infants, saw at least an hour increase in recommended sleep times.

Understanding the sleep needs of an individual is important. WebMD indicates a lack of sleep can do some surprising things to the body, including the slowdown of cognitive functions like memory formation, problem solving, alertness, and concentration. Lack of sleep can also individuals at risk for chronic diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and stroke. Research also suggests people who lack enough sleep have a higher risk for depression and a higher risk for less serious health consequences like decreased sex drive and lackluster skin.

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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,” said David Cloud, CEO of the National Sleep Foundation.