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New sleep guidelines

Published by
April 25, 2024
The Danish Health Authority's new sleep guidelines

Sleep and health go hand in hand - yet sleep is something many people take for granted. New figures from the Danish Health Authority show that more Danes are experiencing sleep problems, which is problematic, say experts. Lack of sleep can have major consequences for people's overall well-being, which is why there are now new recommendations on how long we should get our night's sleep.

Do you also sleep too little?

When there never seem to be enough hours in the day, it's easy to deprioritize your sleep. But if you regularly cut back on the hours of sleep you need in order to squeeze more activities into your day, think again.

Studies show that many of us are not getting the amount of sleep we need. This not only leaves us tired and unrested, but can also have serious long-term consequences for our health.

So the next time you're thinking about staying up a little later to watch another episode of your favorite show or thinking about working late into the night, remember that your body and mind need rest to function optimally.

The new recommendations from the Danish Health Authority

The latest sleep guidelines from the Danish Health Authority are based on extensive data on Danes' sleep habits. The DHMA now recommends that adults between the ages of 18 and 65 should sleep between 7 and 9 hours every night - although there may be individual needs for more or less sleep.

Statistics show that in 2023, 64% of adults aged 18-64 slept the recommended 7-9 hours every night. However, 32% slept less than the recommended 7 hours and 4% slept more than 9 hours.

For those over 65, the numbers were different; only 38% reached the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep, 35% slept less and 27% slept more than recommended.

Among school students, the pattern was also worrying. Around one in 10 5th grade students slept 8 hours or less per night, and this proportion rose to around 2/3 among 9th grade students. In addition, more girls than boys in grades 5, 7 and 9 reported poor and restless sleep several times a week.

A large proportion of young people between the ages of 16 and 24 stated that entertainment from screens was a primary reason for not feeling rested. That's why the Danish Health Authority now suggests that people should consider going to bed earlier and turning off the screen after bedtime.

Why you need to prioritize your sleep

Factors such as work pressure and digital presence can push sleep down the priority list. Many of us are tempted to cut back on sleep to meet our goals or because we're afraid of missing out on something that happens online. However, this can have serious consequences for both our physical health and mental wellbeing.

The 3 S's - Sleep, Stress and Health are often mentioned together - and it's no coincidence.

Lack of sleep has been linked to everything from increased stress and lowered immunity to a higher risk of chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes. So a good night's sleep isn't just important for feeling rested - it's also necessary for looking after your health.

Having trouble sleeping at night? Then read our 10 tips for a better night's sleep.