The National Sleep Foundation (NSF), along with a multi-disciplinary expert panel, just released its updated recommendations for appropriate sleep durations for children and adults. The panel’s consensus, published in the journal Sleep Health, recommends wider appropriate sleep ranges for most age groups.

Noteworthy updates from the NSF’s previous recommendations include the following:

  • Longer durations and shorter time spans of sleep for most age groups
  • Adult sleep needs are split into three categories: younger adults, adults, and older adults
  • Experts from 13 organizations conducted rigorous research to arrive at the new recommendations

The new recommendations of sleep hours per day are as follows:

  • Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours (previously, 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): 10-13 hours (previously, 11-13 hours)
  • School age children (6-13): 9-11 hours (previously it was 10-11)
  • Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours (previously it was 8.5-9.5)
  • Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours (new age category)
  • Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours (remains the same)
  • Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours (new age category)

“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,” says Charles A. Czeisler, PhD, MD, NSF chairman of the board, chief of sleep and circadian disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Baldino Professor of Sleep Medicine at the Harvard Medical School, in a release. “The National Sleep Foundation is providing these scientifically grounded guidelines on the amount of sleep we need each night to improve the sleep health of the millions of individuals and parents who rely on us for this information.”

A new range, “may be appropriate,” has been added to acknowledge the individual variability in appropriate sleep durations. The recommendations now define times as either (a) recommended; (b) may be appropriate for some individuals; or (c) not recommended.

“The National Sleep Foundation sleep duration recommendations will help individuals make sleep schedules that are within a healthy range. They also serve as a useful starting point for individuals to discuss their sleep with their healthcare providers,” said David Cloud, NSF CEO.


The recommendations are the result of multiple rounds of consensus voting after a comprehensive review of published scientific studies on sleep and health. The expert panel included six sleep experts and experts from the following stakeholder organizations:

  • American Association of Anatomists
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American College of Chest Physicians
  • American Geriatrics Society
  • American Neurological Association
  • American Physiological Society
  • American Psychiatric Association
  • American Thoracic Society
  • Gerontological Society of America
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology Society
  • Society for Research in Human Development
  • American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

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