Sleep Disorders

Updated 27 February 2015

U.S Sleep Foundation updates shuteye guidelines

The U.S Sleep Foundation has released the latest sleep guidelines, and the biggest changes are for babies and seniors.


For the youngest and oldest, the National Sleep Foundation has new guidelines on what constitutes a good night's rest.

Newborns and infants

Newborns (0 to 3 months) need 14 to 17 hours of sleep per day, while infants (4 to 11 months) need 12 to 15 hours, according to the new guidelines. Previous recommendations were 12 to 18 hours for newborns, and 14 to 15 hours for infants.

On the other end of the age spectrum, the sleep foundation added a new category – 65 and older. The experts now recommend that seniors sleep for 7 to 8 hours a night.

Read: Sleep or die

The updated guidelines also widen sleep ranges for older children:

  • Toddlers between 1 and 2 years need 11 to 14 hours of sleep every night (previously 12 to 14 hours)
  • Preschoolers between 3 and 5 years should get 10 to 13 hours each night (previously 11 to 13 hours)
  • School-aged children, 6 to 13 years old, need 9 to 11 hours nightly (previously 10 to 11 hours)
  • Teens from 14 to 17 years need 8 to 10 hours each night (previously 8.5 to 9.5 hours)

Young adults

And, the sleep foundation added one more category – young adults aged 18 to 25 years. Their recommended sleep range is 7 to 9 hours, according to the new guidelines.

The range for adults aged 26 to 64 remains the same at 7 to 9 hours.

The new guidelines were developed by a panel of 12 experts who examined the findings of 320 studies, and published online in Sleep Health: Journal of the National Sleep Foundation.

Read: Sleep apnoea

"We still have a great deal to learn about the function of sleep," panel member Lydia DonCarlos, a professor in the department of cell and molecular physiology of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, said in a university news release.

"We know it's restorative and important for memory consolidation. But we don't know the details of what the function of sleep is, even though it is how we spend one-third of our lives," she explained.

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Image: Newborn baby from Shutterstock

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Dr Alison Bentley is a general practitioner who has consulted in sleep medicine and sleep disorders, in both adults and children of all ages, for almost 30 years. She also researches and publishes on a number of sleep-related topics both in formal research journals and lay publications including as editor of Sleep Matters, an educational newsletter on sleep disorders for doctors.

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