In an article appearing on the Huffington Post on Feb. 02, 2015, Sarah Klein reports how the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) has changed the well-established sleep recommendations and the organization is offering new guidelines now. The article also explains people were, at first, unsure how the new recommendations were established. According to Max Hirshkowitz, Ph.D., the National Sleep Foundation Scientific Advisory Council’s Chair, a variety of organizations played a part in determining the new sleep recommendations. The organization creating the panel of professionals included the Society for Research in Human Development, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Geriatrics Society, the American Academy of Pediatrics, 12 medical experts and 6 sleep experts. The panel studied more than 300 peer-reviewed journal articles published during the decade between 2004 and 2014. All of the journal publications are about healthy subjects and sleep duration.
On the National Sleep Foundation website, the sleep recommendations are described, but not before Hirshkowitz asserts, “The public can be confident that these recommendations represent the best guidance for sleep duration and health.” The recommendations are as follows:
Newborns ranging in age from 0 to 3 months need 14-17 hours of sleep daily.
Infants ranging in age from 4-11 months need 12-15 hours of sleep daily.
Toddlers, ages 1-2 years, need to sleep 11-14 hours daily.
Preschoolers ages 3-5 require 10-13 hours sleep daily.
School-aged children, ages 6-13, require 9-11 hour sleep daily.
Young adults, ages 18-25, require 7-9 hours sleep daily.
Adults, ages 26-64, still require 7-9 hours sleep daily: This figure is unchanged from prior recommendations.
Older adults, aged 65 or older, require 7-8 hours sleep daily.
The newest recommendations from the NSF seem to fly in the face of the notion of segmented sleep. In an article entitled “Rethinking sleep,” on The New York Times, David K. Randall writes of an interview with Virginia Tech Professor, A. Roger Ekirch, who researched the history of the night. During his research, he found repeated references to first and second sleep. Ekirch asserts the way people sleep now and the way our ancestors slept before the invention of the light bulb is radically different. Some people wonder, with so many people chronically fatigued today, if segmented sleep is not the healthier option. For more information on segmented sleep, see “Segmented sleep may lead to improved dream recall.”