Expert panel releases age-specific sleep recommendations

For the first time, a panel of health experts has released age-based sleep recommendations that adjust durations for infants, and introduce new specifications for adults in their early 20s and those over age 65.

The results, published in Sleep Health: The Official Journal of the National Sleep Foundation, come from the foundation as well as a group of academics in sleep, anatomy, physiology, pediatrics, neurology, gerontology and gynecology.

“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," Dr. Charles A. Czeisler, chairman of the board of the National Sleep Foundation, chief of sleep and circadian disorders at Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Baldino Professor of Sleep Medicine at the Harvard Medical School, said in a news release.

The new recommendations include:
• 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)

NSF’s recommendations come in three categories: recommended, not recommended, and may be appropriate to acknowledge individual variability in appropriate sleep durations.

"The NSF has committed to regularly reviewing and providing scientifically rigorous recommendations," Max Hirshkowitz, chair of the National Sleep Foundation Scientific Advisory Council, said in the news release. "The public can be confident that these recommendations represent the best guidance for sleep duration and health."

Click for the full results of the NSF recommendations.