Work demands, binge-watching demands, whatever Trump tweeted in the middle of the night — there are more things keeping us awake than ever. And although many of us hang on to that college-age idea that sleep is something you just outgrow, it’s not the case. In fact, lack of sleep has been linked to everything from weight gain to chronic diseases like diabetes.
So how much sleep do you need? Don’t set your sleep schedule by the size of your Netflix queue or the humblebragging of CEOs who claim to need only four hours a night. Here’s what the experts recommend.
How much sleep do I need?
The National Sleep Foundation updated its guidelines in 2015, after a two-year review of more than 300 studies. Its recommendations for adults are
Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours per day
Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours
Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours
The NSF’s recommendations for other age categories:
Newborns (0-3 months ): 14-17 hours
Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours
Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours
Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours
School-age children (6-13): 9-11 hours
Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concurs that the average adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep a day. The CDC notes that getting less than seven hours is “associated with increased risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke, frequent mental distress, and all-cause mortality.”
“Although the amount of sleep you get each day is important, other aspects of your sleep also contribute to your health and well-being,” the CDC adds. “Good sleep quality is also essential. Signs of poor sleep quality include not feeling rested even after getting enough sleep, repeatedly waking up during the night, and experiencing symptoms of sleep disorders, such as snoring or gasping for air.”
The experts also note that more isn’t necessarily better; as long as you fall in the range of 7 to 9 hours, you’re golden. So don’t stress if you’re not hitting 9 hours, or if your nightly sleep total varies within that range.