Adults need a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night, preferably more, says a new Stanford study, setting aside the debate that varied on this issue.
In their paper published in the journal SLEEP, 15 sleep experts reached a consensus as per the requirements of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society.
One of the panelists, Clete Kushida, said the goal of the panel was to take stock of existing studies on sleep and use the information to come to a consensus on a recommended sleep amount. To do so, the panel evaluated 5,314 scientific articles on sleep over a 12-month period.
After examining reports, the panel concluded that “sleeping six or fewer hours per night is inadequate to sustain health and safety in adults, and agreed that seven or more hours of sleep per night is recommended for all healthy adults.”
Interestingly, the recommendations don’t place an upper limit on the amount of sleep. Nine hours is often cited as the maximum amount of time an adult should sleep, yet these new guidelines state that it’s okay for adults to sleep more if needed.
Kushida explained: “Sleeping more than nine hours per night on a regular basis may be appropriate for young adults, individuals recovering from sleep debt, and individuals with illnesses.”
The message is that adults can be healthy on seven hours of sleep each night, but this amount of rest is not ideal. It’s better for adults to sleep more if possible, especially when they’re young, sleep deprived or ill, they add.