7 and Up: The Healthy Sleep Duration for Adults

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 published a consensus statement that includes the following recommendation:

“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 ad