Foundation releases new sleep recommendations

WASHINGTON — Are you bleary eyed as you reach for another cup of coffee? Chances are, you didn’t get enough shuteye.

The non-profit National Sleep Foundation is out with a new set of recommendations for sleep duration, and says most adults need between seven and nine hours a night. Many people don’t even come close.

“Millions of people are getting inadequate sleep or not getting enough sleep,” says Dr. Neal Maru, a sleep specialist with Integrated Neurology Services in Alexandria, Virginia.

He says the effects of inadequate sleep can be extremely far-reaching, affecting the mind and overall physical health.

“It can affect people’s memory. It can affect people’s mood, and even have drastic health consequences,” says Maru. They include an increased risk of diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

He says the seven to nine hours recommended by the National Sleep Foundation is a “sweet spot,” although some people can get by just fine on less than seven and others who need more than nine.

The recommendations were put together by a team of medical experts ranging from pediatricians to cardiologists to OB-GYNs. Maru says the diversity of the expert panel was important because it underscores the many ways that inadequate sleep can affect the body.

He says we all need to make getting enough sleep a priority – a task that he admits is not always easy in “our 24/7 world.”

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