Sleeping hours: what is the ideal number and how does age impact this?

Nat Sci Sleep. 2018 Nov 27;10:421-430. doi: 10.2147/NSS.S163071. eCollection 2018.

Abstract

The objective of this narrative review paper is to discuss about sleep duration needed across the lifespan. Sleep duration varies widely across the lifespan and shows an inverse relationship with age. Sleep duration recommendations issued by public health authorities are important for surveillance and help to inform the population of interventions, policies, and healthy sleep behaviors. However, the ideal amount of sleep required each night can vary between different individuals due to genetic factors and other reasons, and it is important to adapt our recommendations on a case-by-case basis. Sleep duration recommendations (public health approach) are well suited to provide guidance at the population-level standpoint, while advice at the individual level (eg, in clinic) should be individualized to the reality of each person. A generally valid assumption is that individuals obtain the right amount of sleep if they wake up feeling well rested and perform well during the day. Beyond sleep quantity, other important sleep characteristics should be considered such as sleep quality and sleep timing (bedtime and wake-up time). In conclusion, the important inter-individual variability in sleep needs across the life cycle implies that there is no "magic number" for the ideal duration of sleep. However, it is important to continue to promote sleep health for all. Sleep is not a waste of time and should receive the same level of attention as nutrition and exercise in the package for good health.

Keywords: guidelines; life cycle; population heath; public health; recommendations; sleep.

Publication types

  • Review