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Experts revise number of hours needed for good sleep

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Posted at 11:20 AM, Feb 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-04 16:32:19-05

Think everyone in the world needs just eight hours of sleep to be properly rested? Think again.

The National Sleep Foundation has issued revised recommendations for “sleep health,” or how much shut-eye is needed to have energy to live normally. Determining where one falls on the “sleep-needs spectrum” includes variables such as age and lifestyle factors — work schedules, technology usage and stress, to name a few.

The NSF used a panel of six sleep specialists plus representatives from organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association, Gerontological Society of America and several more to make its latest recommendations. The amount hasn't really changed for adults, but they are getting less than the recommended eight hours, especially because technology usage has increased, and that has unhealthy effects.

The report says:

Newborns (0-3 months) should get 14-17 hours of sleep per day, and 18-19 is appropriate
Infants (4-11 months) need 12-15 hours per day, and 15-16 is appropriate
Toddlers (1-2 years old) need 11-14 hours per day; 15-16 is appropriate
Pre-schoolers (ages 3-5 years) need 10-13 hours of sleep, with 14 hours being appropriate
School-age children, or those 6-13 years old, need 9-11 hours per day, with 12 being appropriate
Teenagers should get 8-10 hours of sleep per day, with 11 hours being appropriate
Young adults (18-25 years old) need 7-9 hours per day (10-11 is appropriate)
Adults ages 26-64 years old need at least 7-9 hours per day (10 is appropriate)
Older adults need 7-8 hours each day, with 9 hours being appropriate

Insufficient sleep costs the U.S. around $66 billion in lost productivity each year, according to sleep.org. It causes tens of thousands of traffic accidents, injuries and deaths annually.

Those who sleep in too much on weekends or days off work are doing more harm than good, experts say. Throwing off a sleep schedule causes more sleep debt by making it harder to get to sleep when back on a schedule, sleep.org says.

How does one know if he's sleep-deprived? Experts say tired people will have a tougher time making simple decisions, and are generally more hungry. They are also more susceptible to getting colds and other illnesses.