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Get More ZZZs with These Sleep Guidelines

Get More ZZZs with These Sleep Guidelines

You might disagree with Mindy Kaling, who claims that there isn’t a sunrise beautiful enough for her to wake up and see. But by insisting on getting enough sleep, she’s got sleep science solidly on her side. She’s also a lot more sleep-smart than many North Americans.

The 2014: Sleep in America poll found more than 50% of 15 to 17 year olds and 25% of 12 to 14 year olds got less than seven hours of sleep nightly. And parents had no idea that for peak health their 12 to 14-year olds (according to newer National Sleep Foundation guidelines) need between nine and 11 hours and teens 15 to 17 require eight to 10 hours every night.

Plus, Mom and Dad don’t do any better themselves! Around 40% of adults get six OR FEWER hours of sleep a night (14% say it’s usually five or less). The NSF says folks 18 to 64 need seven to nine hours and those 65 plus need seven to eight.

Why the new NSF guidelines? Because lack of sleep is a growing problem that causes everything from poor school performance to driving accidents, increased risk of infection and disease, over-the-top stress responses, mood swings and relationship problems.

So make your house sleep-smart: Set a bedtime and stick to it. No digital devices in any bedroom EVER, no TV an hour before bed, and while you’re sleeping make the only light in your bathroom and bedroom a red nightlight.

Medically reviewed in January 2020.

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