You鈥檝e been told time and time again that a solid night鈥檚 sleep is crucial to your health. Eight hours has been the golden rule for some time now, and that鈥檚 all well and good for people who have the perfect work-life balance. But hello, new kids? Long work hours? Excuse us while we drink our聽coffee and grumble about young whippersnappers.


The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) has taken another look at this everyday dilemma. And it turns out, not all sleepers are created equal. After more than two years of research, the NSF has updated聽its聽ideal snooze recommendations according to age group. Rub the sleepies out of your eyes and peep this infographic.

Recommended Sleep Infographic

One聽trend is clear 鈥 the older you get, the less sleep you need. No surprises聽there, considering how often newborns drift off and how grandparents are always up at the crack of dawn.

What聽is聽new is that the recommended sleep ranges have widened. The old 鈥渆ight hours鈥 adage, while ideal for many, does not need to be taken as a hard and fast rule for all. The research shows that not only do sleep needs vary by age group, they also vary by individual. Odds are that you should be aiming for the seven-to-nine hour range, as that鈥檚 what sustains healthy adults right up into聽their 60s.聽But you may feel perfectly rested after six hours, while your friend may happily snooze聽through her聽alarm every morning, and you both could be totally normal. And聽if you know a teenager who always sleeps a few hours more聽than you, that鈥檚 not just normal, don鈥檛 worry 鈥 it鈥檚 recommended. So rest聽easy! The experts are giving you some wiggle room.


The important thing is to be aware of how you feel on a regular basis 鈥 if you鈥檙e relying on extra shots of espresso every morning, are you really聽getting enough? Do you only feel good on the weekends when you don鈥檛 set the alarm? If you鈥檙e at the lower end of your age bracket鈥檚 spectrum and聽don鈥檛聽feel bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, the NSF stresses that you must make it a priority. Their suggestions include:

  1. Sticking to a sleep schedule
  2. Starting聽a relaxing bedtime ritual
  3. Exercising daily
  4. Making sure the atmosphere in your bedroom is conducive to resting

Lastly, don鈥檛 try to be superwoman if it means your overall health suffers. We鈥檝e gotta agree with the NSF on this one: 鈥溾on鈥檛 make [sleep]聽the thing you do only after everything else is done 鈥 stop doing other things so you get the sleep you need.鈥

Where do you fall on the National Sleep Foundation鈥檚 revised聽sleep recommendation? Join the slumber party in the comments!