Based on this research, the foundation developed the following sleep guidelines for adults: for young adults (18 to 25), seven to nine hours; for adults (26 to 64), seven to nine hours; for older adults (65 and older), seven to eight hours.
The guidelines also specified recommended sleep ranges for children: 14 to 17 hours for infants and eight to 10 hours for teenagers.
The new guidelines suggested that six hours of sleep may be appropriate for some adults, as can as much as 10 to 11 hours depending on individual differences. But the majority of people will fall within the “recommended” range.
Despite those who still claim to be just fine with sleeping only a few hours, researchers estimate that this is rarely true and likely to be the case only for about 1 percent to 3 percent of the population — people with a genetic mutation that lessens the effects of sleep loss. Those who tend to sleep longer than five hours on the weekend or when they don’t have obligations are probably not part of this lucky bunch and are instead sleep deprived.
The National Sleep Foundation has posted online a few questions people can use to assess their sleep needs. These asssess how productive and happy you feel at different intervals, the presence of health issues or disease risks, current sleep issues, dependency on caffeine during the day and feelings of sleepiness while driving.
If you’ve been subsisting on six or fewer hours of sleep, try bumping up your sleep allotment to see if you notice any improvements in daytime performance. If you’re already getting seven or eight hours a night on average but not feeling optimal, then nine or 10 hours might be what your body needs.
According to the National Sleep Foundation website, those with illnesses like diabetes or even the common cold may also benefit from more sleep. If you’re getting enough hours in bed but still not feeling entirely well rested, chat with a doctor as this could be a sign of a condition like sleep apnea or a medication-related issue.