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How Much Sleep Do You Really Need? It Depends On Your Age

There's little good that can be said about not getting enough sleep. You not only feel lousy -- and are probably a little grouchy, too -- but miss sleep regularly, and your health can tank out as well.

A number of studies have linked a lack of sleep to weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes, and a host of other maladies -- including crummy immunity).

And that's to say nothing about a loss of concentration, inability to solve problems, learn new things ... or stay awake in boring meetings.

The National Sleep Foundation has issued a new set of guidelines that covers shuteye all the way from newborn to senior citizen, including a couple of new age categories.

How about you? Do you get enough sleep?

Here are the recommendations new (and old.)

Newborn             14-17 hrs per night          (previously was 12-18 hours)

Infants                  12-15                                     (14-15)

Toddlers              11-14                                     (12-14)

Pre-school          10-13                                     (11-13)

School-age          9-11                                       (10-11)

Teens                    8-10                                       (8.5-9.5)

Adults                   7-9                                          (no change)

Ages 18-25          7-9                                          (new category)

Seniors                 7-8                                          (new category)

Now it may not seem like the change in numbers is all that great, but they have been tweaked after studying people in sleep labs, workplaces, school, etc.

There are a few people who truly can get by with much less sleep and be fully functional. They make me insanely jealous, but the number of these "I only need 4-5 hours" human freaks of sleep nature are truly few. Most of us do need what is charted about.

Final thoughts:

It's debatable whether you can catch up with naps (which is a habit I love)

Try to go to bed at the same time each night, even weekends

Keep your bedroom dark and cool, if you have trouble dropping off

Limit light exposure in the hour or two before bed.

Say goodnight to the smartphone or tablet 45-60 minutes before hopping in the sack.

Sweet dreams!

Dr. Dave Hnida is CBS4's Medical Editor. He blogs about the latest studies and trends in the health world. Read his latest blog entries, check out his bio or follow him on Twitter @drdavehnida.

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