The National Sleep Foundation, in the United States, has just completed a study revising their sleep requirement recommendations. The NSF gathered a panel of 18 specialists and researchers. These panellists came from medical associations in fields including paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, and psychiatry.
More than 300 current studies were reviewed over the course of more than two years. After this time, the experts were asked to vote on how much sleep really is ideal for people at different stages of their lives.
Chair of the National Sleep Foundation Scientific Advisory Council, Dr Max Hirshkowitz, said,“The NSF has committed to regularly reviewing and providing scientifically rigorous recommendations.”
The NSF have shared their chart, now displaying a minimum and maximum range of sleep, as well as a recommended section, for optimal health.
The Foundation has made three major changes to their previous recommendations. The first of these introduced is the ‘may be appropriate’ range, which recognises that individuals have varying sleep needs. This range is shown on the chart with light blue.
The second change was made to the recommendations relating to babies, children and toddlers. These recommendations are now:
Newborns (0-3 months) – 14-17 hours each day.
This was previously 12-18 hours.
Infants (4-11 months) – 12-15 hours each day.
This was previously 12-18 hours.
Toddlers (1-2 years) – 11-14 hours per day. This has been widened by one hour (was 12-14 hours)
Preschoolers (3-5 years) – Widened by one hour, to 10-13 hours.
School aged children (6-13 years) – 9-11 hours each day.
This was previously 10-11 hours.
Teenagers (14-17 years) – 8-10 hours. Widened by one hour.
The third change introduced by the NSF is two new age categories. These are:
‘Younger Adults (18-25 years)’
NSF recommended sleep range is 7-9 hours
‘Older Adults (64+)’ – Sleep range is 7-8 hours.
The recommended sleep range for ‘Adults (26-64 years) has not changed, and remains 7-9 hours.
Dr Max Hirshkowitz said, “The public can be confident that these recommendations represent the best guidance for sleep duration and health.”
We spend up to a third of our lives sleeping, so the quality and quantity of that sleep is vital to our health and well-being.
The NSF says that while it’s good to keep this sleep chart in mind, it’s also important “to consider lifestyle factors that may be impacting your sleep.”
3 Ways to Get a Better Sleep
Dr Maree Barnes, a sleep physician from the Sleep Health Foundation, suggests these;
- Stick to a routine. “Try to do more or less the same things before you go to bed every night so your body understands that the series of activities leads to sleep.”
- Avoid stimulants. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol from half an hour before bed, and avoiding food from two hours before, will also help you get to sleep. Remember that screens are also a stimulant. Don’t have mobile phones or computers in your bedroom.
- Be prepared. Dr Barnes suggests, “Make sure your bedroom is conducive to sleep, so it’s dark and comfortable, and the right temperature.”
Stick to these, and you’ll be feeling better rested before you know it!
Written by our new contributor, Melissa Buckle. Melissa writes the blog, Two Gum Boots.
Melissa is (almost) twenty-six, a mother to two, wife to one, and lover of food (especially the sweet, sugary kind). She loves reading, writing, sitting on the couch, and sleeping in (even though that only happens once a year at most).
Melissa lives in Queensland, near the beach, she works full time, and like most of us, wishes there were more hours in the day, every day.