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The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that adults should sleep 7 or more hours per night on a regular basis to promote optimal health. The amount of nightly sleep that children need steadily decreases with age.


  • The specific amount of sleep needed each night varies from one person to another.
  • Adults should sleep 7 or more hours per night, and children need even more sleep.
  • The ideal amount of sleep for you depends in part on genetic factors.
  • Getting insufficient sleep on a regular basis can have a negative effect on your health.
  • CDC data show that 35 percent of U.S. adults fail to sleep at least 7 hours per night.

Am I At Risk:

The rate of insufficient sleep is similar among men and women. Adults in the southeastern U.S. have the lowest rate of healthy sleep duration. Your job also can affect your sleep duration. Short sleep duration is more common among communications equipment operators and transportation workers. Insufficient sleep is extremely common among teens. About 68 percent of high school students report sleeping 7 hours or less on school nights.


Sleep is essential for optimal health. Healthy sleep requires adequate duration and good quality. Appropriate timing and regularity also are important aspects of healthy sleep. Sleeping 7 or more hours per night is part of a healthy lifestyle for adults.

Sleeping less than 7 hours per night on a regular basis increases your risk of health problems. Ongoing, insufficient sleep even increases your risk of death. When you don’t get enough sleep, you also are more likely to be in a drowsy driving accident.

Health problems linked to insufcient sleep include:
weight gain heart disease
obesity stroke
diabetes depression
high blood pressure biological aging

Some adults may need to sleep more than 9 hours per night on a regular basis. This includes adults who have an illness and those who are recovering from a period of sleep loss.

Children and teens need more sleep on a regular basis than adults. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that children and teens get the following amounts of sleep on a regular basis to promote optimal health:

  • Infants 4-12 months old: 12-16 hours (including naps)

  • Children 1-2 years old: 11-14 hours (including naps)

  • Children 3-5 years old: 10-13 hours (including naps)

  • Children 6-12 years old: 9-12 hours

  • Teens 13-18 years old: 8-10 hours


  • Keep a consistent sleep schedule. Get up at the same time every day, even on weekends or during vacations.
  • Develop a relaxing bedtime routine.
  • Go to bed early enough to sleep 7 or more hours per night.
  • Make your bedroom quiet and relaxing. Keep the room at a comfortable, cool temperature.
  • Limit exposure to bright light in the evenings.
  • Stop using the computer, cell phone and other electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • Avoid consuming caffeine in the late afternoon and evening.
  • Avoid consuming alcohol before bedtime.

Next Steps:

  • Make it a priority to sleep at least 7 hours or more per night on a regular basis.
  • Develop a relaxing bedtime routine to help you wind down before going to bed.
  • Talk to your doctor about any ongoing sleep problems.
  • Your doctor may schedule you for a sleep study if you have symptoms of a sleep disorder.


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