NSF releases report on sleep needed to humans

KARACHI: The National Sleep Foundation in a report said humans, like all animals, need sleep, along with food, water and oxygen, to survive. For humans sleep is a vital indicator of overall health and well-being. We spend up to one-third of our lives asleep, and the overall state of our “ sleep health ” remains an essential question throughout our lifespan. Most of us know that getting a good night’s sleep is important, but too few of us actually make those eight or so hours between the sheets a priority. For many of us with sleep debt , we’ve forgotten what “being really, truly rested” feels like.

To further complicate matters, stimulants like coffee and energy drinks, alarm clocks, and external lights—including those from electronic devices—interferes with our “ circadian rhythm ” or natural sleep/wake cycle.

Eighteen leading scientists and researchers came together to form the National Sleep Foundation’s expert panel tasked with updating the official recommendations. The panelists included six sleep specialists and representatives from leading organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association of Anatomists, American College of Chest Physicians, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Geriatrics Society, American Neurological Association, American Physiological Society, American Psychiatric Association, American Thoracic Society, Gerontological Society of America, Human Anatomy and Physiology Society, and Society for Research in Human Development. The panelists participated in a rigorous scientific process that included reviewing over 300 current scientific publications and voting on how much sleep is appropriate throughout the lifespan.

“Millions of individuals trust the National Sleep Foundation for its sleep duration recommendations. As the voice for sleep health it is the NSF’s responsibility to make sure that our recommendations are supported by the most rigorous science,” says Charles Czeisler, MD, PhD, chairman of the board of the National Sleep Foundation and chief of sleep medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, “Individuals, particularly parents, rely on us for this information.”

The NSF has committed to regularly reviewing and providing scientifically rigorous recommendations,” says Max Hirshkowitz, PhD, Chair of the National Sleep Foundation Scientific Advisory Council. “The public can be confident that these recommendations represent the best guidance for sleep duration and health.”

A new range, “may be appropriate,” has been added to acknowledge the individual variability in appropriate sleep durations. The recommendations now define times as either (a) recommended; (b) may be appropriate for some individuals; or (c) not recommended.

The panel revised the recommended sleep ranges for all six children and teen age groups. A summary of the new recommendations includes:

Newborns (0-3 months ): Sleep range narrowed to 14-17 hours each day (previously it was 12-18). Infants (4-11 months): Sleep range widened two hours to 12-15 hours (previously it was 14-15). Toddlers (1-2 years): Sleep range widened by one hour to 11-14 hours (previously it was 12-14). Preschoolers (3-5): Sleep range widened by one hour to 10-13 hours (previously it was 11-13). School age children (6-13): Sleep range widened by one hour to 9-11 hours (previously it was 10-11). Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range widened by one hour to 8-10 hours (previously it was 8.5-9.5). Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category). Adults (26-64): Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours. Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours (new age category).

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