Americans have been clamoring for information about how much sleep they need. Without busy schedules, many of us find it hard to make time for sleep, and, as a result may experience daytime sleepiness. That’s why they’ve made the page “How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?” the most visited page on the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) website. NSF responded by improving the recommendations on the page.
A Team of Experts Reviews the Science
One of the problems with sleep recommendations in the past is that they have often been unscientific. To correct that the NSF brought together a crack team of experts that included six sleep experts and 12 medical experts from other fields, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society for Research in Human Development, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Geriatrics Society. They conducted a review of literature to find the best studies on sleep duration. They looked only at current studies, those published in peer-reviewed journals from 2004 to 2014, identifying 312 relevant studies. They used these studies to refine the sleep guidelines as follows:
- Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours (previous recommendation: 12-18 hours)
- Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours (previously 14-15 hours)
- Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours (previously 12-14 hours)
- Preschoolers (3-5 years): 10-13 hours (previously 11-13 hours)
- School-Age Children (6-13 years): 9-11 hours (previously 10-11 hours)
- Teenages (14-17 years): 8-10 hours (previously 8.5-9.5 hours)
- Young Adults (18-25): 7-9 hours (no prior recommendations)
- Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours (same)
- Older Adults (65+): 7-8 hours (no prior recommendations)
Although this is the most rigorous effort to create recommended sleep guidelines, researchers acknowledge that this is still not an exact science. On either side of the recommended sleep hours, there is typically an hour or more that “may be recommended” for certain individuals.
If You’re Still Feeling Sleepy
If you are suffering from daytime sleepiness, first check to see if you are getting the recommended sleep. This may mean adjusting your sleep environment or habits if you’re having difficulty getting to sleep.
But if you’re still sleepy during the day, you may have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea causes you to stop breathing at night, forcing you to wake up many times during the night, even though you may not be aware of waking. This prevents you from getting good sleep and may result in numerous other health problems.
If you suspect you may have sleep apnea and want more information on diagnosis and treatment, please call (402) 493-4175 for an appointment with an Omaha sleep dentist at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center today.