Well, now you have a chart to consult! Just turn to the National Sleep Foundation's newly released set of recommendations for various points of life, sleep-duration numbers that were developed after an extensive review of past scientific literature and input from a variety medical professionals. The recommendations for age categories from newborns to older adults were published this week in the foundation's journal Sleep Health.
Here are their recommended sleep times:
Zero to three months of age: 14 to 17 hours
Four to 11 months of age: 12 to 15 hours
One to two years of age: 11 to 14 hours
Three to five years of age: 10 to 13 hours
Six to 13 years of age: nine to 11 hours
14 to 17 years of age: eight to 10 hours
18 to 25 years of age: seven to nine hours
26 to 64 years of age: seven to nine hours
65 and older: seven to eight hours
"Sleeping too little and too much are both associated with increased risk of mortality and a range of other adverse health issues: cardiovascular disease, possibly cancer and also impaired psychological well-being," said Lauren Hale, editor of the journal Sleep Health and associate professor of preventative medicine at Stony Brook University.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called insufficient sleep a public health epidemic. And Hale, who focuses on teenagers, said most American teens are simply not sleeping enough on a whole.
Hale said that while every individual is a little different, the recommendations can provide guidance for parents and others in creating household environments conducive to children and adults alike getting enough sleep (think: electronics off and lights out). And if people are sleeping over the recommended range, this may be a signal of other health problems, such as depression.
"There are always exceptions, whether it's a flight to catch, a test to take, things to do, and some days you need to sleep over the range because you are sick," Hale said. "But, on a regular basis, you should try to aim for the recommended range."