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7 and Up: The Healthy Sleep Duration for Adults


Healthy sleep duration

The scientific evidence is clear: Sleep is essential for optimal health. But how much sleep should adults get each night?

To answer this question the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society gathered 15 leading sleep experts in 2015. They reviewed thousands of published studies linking sleep duration and health. Then they graded the evidence and held multiple rounds of voting.

Finally they agreed on the following statement:

Adults should sleep 7 or more hours per night on a regular basis to promote optimal health.


Research provides strong evidence that you may be harming your health by restricting your sleep. Getting less than 7 hours of sleep on a regular basis increases your risk of several adverse health outcomes. Health problems linked to insufficient sleep include:
  • weight gain and obesity
  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • depression
  • impaired immune system
  • increased risk of death
Sleeping less than 7 hours per night also can impair your performance. You have an increased risk of errors and accidents when you don’t get enough sleep each night.

Exactly how much sleep is right for you?


It may be more than 7 hours. Some adults may need a longer sleep duration of more than 9 hours per night. Long sleepers may include young adults and those who have a chronic illness. A small percentage of adults are short sleepers who feel alert and refreshed after sleeping less than 6 hours per night. Genetic factors help determine how much sleep you need.

But 7 hours of sleep is the best starting point for adults. Make it one of your top health priorities to sleep at least 7 hours each night. Keep in mind that healthy sleep also requires good quality and regularity.

Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about your sleep. For an ongoing sleep problem you can get help at an AASM accredited sleep center.

Seven and up: Optimize your health with 7 hours of sleep or more each night!

Updated Sept. 21, 2015

AASM & SRS Recommendation

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Stats
CDC data show that 35% of U.S. adults fail to sleep at least 7 hours per night.

Twenty-three percent of adults reported sleeping only 6 hours on average in a 24-hour period in 2014.

Twelve percent of adults reported sleeping only 5 hours or less.

Healthy sleep duration varies among states. The percentage of adults who reported sleeping at least 7 hours was lowest at 56.1% in Hawaii and highest at 71.6% in South Dakota.

Source: Prevalence of Healthy Sleep Duration among Adults — United States, 2014

CDC data show that the age-adjusted mean sleep duration of U.S. adults was 7.18 hours in a 24-hour period in 2012.

In 2012 about 70.1 million U.S. adults reported sleeping 6 hours or less.

Since 1985 the percentage of adults sleeping 6 hours or less has increased by 31%.

Source: Trends in self-reported sleep duration among US adults from 1985 to 2012

Gallup poll data show that U.S. adults averaged 6.8 hours of sleep at night in 2013, down more than an hour from 1942.

40% of U.S. adults report that they usually sleep less than 7 hours at night.

The percentage of U.S. adults who report that they usually sleep 7 or more hours at night decreased from 84% in 1942 to 59% in 2013. 

Source: In U.S., 40% get less than recommended amount of sleep

Updated Feb. 29, 2016