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The only category in which the recommendation did not change: adults. We still need 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Bummer.

Ellen Seidman
February 05, 2015

You might have heard about the new sleep recommendations issued by the National Sleep Foundation. After reviewing current literature in the field, an 18-member panel has tweaked existing guidelines, and added a couple of new categories.

The new categories: Younger adults (18-25) should get 7 to 9 hours, and older adults (65-plus) require 7 to 8 hours. The NSF panel also bumped up previously recommended number of snooze hours for newborns, infants, preschoolers, and school-age kids.

The only category in which the recommendation did not change: adults. We still need 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Bummer.

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When I first heard about the revised recommendations, I had a glimmer of hope—perhaps scientists had found we didn't need as much sleep as previously believed! It would be nice to have medical sanctioning for the 6.5 hours I typically get. But, no.

Having kids can derail your sleep, for sure. But I am my own worst enemy, and I blame it on I'll-Just-Do-One-More-Thing Syndrome. I have the best of intentions at crashing around 10:30 p.m., maybe 11:00. But then, our living room could use de-cluttering. And, oh, those forms need to be filled out. And whoa, why hasn't anyone else in this house realized that orange juice spilled all over the fridge shelf? Suddenly, it's 12:30 a.m.

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A more recent problem is Transparent, the brilliant Amazon Prime series. I gorged on episodes. One night, after I'd woken up at 2:00 a.m. when a car with a loud muffler went by our house, I went downstairs to the living room and watched an episode.

I feel a little sleepy in the morning on my 6.5 hours, sure, but then it's iced coffee to the rescue. Like many people I know, I power through my day invigorated by some caffeine and a whole lot of determination. It also helps that I'm genuinely content with my life—happiness is excellent fuel.

But then, no matter how Superwoman I am, I know that I really need to commit to more sleep. The health benefits of sleep include everything from a better memory to a slimmer waistline. Oh, and a longer life, too, which sure would come in handy for binge-watching great TV series. I'm going to try going to sleep 15 minutes earlier this weekend—baby steps are always the most do-able kind.

I'm pretty on top of most things: Bringing up my kids, work, eating well. As mad as I am that the darn sleep people keep telling me that I need actual sleep, it's time that I listened.

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