How Much Sleep You REALLY Need

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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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.

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.

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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