Japanese Sleep Standards Advocate 6-8 Hours of Daily Sleep for Adults

2023 Japanese guidelines recommend age-appropriate sleep. (Photo via unsplash.com)

Adequate sleep quality and duration are fundamental for overall health. The 2023 Healthy Sleep Guidelines, published by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, highlight variations in required sleep duration across different age groups, with adults typically needing 6 to 8 hours of sleep per night.

Taipei, Taiwan (WS News Publisher) – The importance of attaining quality sleep and adequate rest cannot be overstated, as it rejuvenates both body and mind. A restful night’s sleep is essential for maintaining optimal mood and energy levels throughout the day. According to the 2023 Healthy Sleep Guidelines published by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, different age groups require different lengths of sleep, and the average sleep time required by adults is 6 to 8 hours.

In addition to mentioning the disease risks of insufficient sleep, the new 2023 healthy sleep guideline mainly provides recommended sleep duration for different age groups. For the elderly, the daily sleep time should not exceed 8 hours. Adults should sleep at least 6 hours a day, and it is not recommended to use holiday sleep to make up for the required daily sleep time. Junior high school students need 8 to 10 hours of sleep a day. Primary school students should sleep for 9 to 12 hours.

These healthy sleep guidelines are revised from the 2014 version, mainly because a survey by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2021 found that the average sleep time of Japanese people is 7 hours and 22 minutes, among 33 member countries ranked the last one. It is nearly an hour less than the average sleep time of the entire member states of 8 hours and 28 minutes. Long-term insufficient sleep time will affect health and increase the risk of disease, so the Ministry of Health and Welfare has proposed amendments to improve this problem.

Naohisa Uchimura, a Japanese sleep expert and president of Kurume University, mentioned that Japanese culture believes that sacrificing sleep time to work and study is proof of hard work and can also improve the national economy. Therefore, sleep is less important, which is one of the reasons why Japanese people have a lower sense of happiness. Poor sleep quality or insufficient sleep time can make us more likely to be tired during the day, have difficulty concentrating, have poor memory, and be inefficient at work, leading to many health problems.

In addition to the different needs of age groups, comprehensive research from various countries has found that sleep duration must be at least 6 hours a day to maintain basic health. If you sleep less than 6 hours for a long time, your risk of dementia, brain disease, cardiovascular disease, and cancer will increase. A 30-year observational study published in the United States found that those who sleep less than 6 hours a day have a double risk of stroke and heart disease and a triple risk of cancer death.

The guidelines also remind adults to set the basic goal of sleeping at least 6 hours a day and try to fall asleep as early as possible to avoid insufficient sleep time on weekdays. You can increase your sleep time by taking a nap for 15 to 30 minutes on weekdays. If you want to catch up on sleep during holidays, it is recommended to limit it to two hours. Do not sleep until you wake up naturally, which will affect the quality of your sleep at night during holidays. It also reduces the time you go out to bask in the sun and do outdoor activities during the day time, but endangers health.

The section on children mentioned that it is important to note that lack of sleep will increase the chances of obesity and depression. The poor energy during the day will also affect academic performance and it is best not to stay up late and develop the habit of going to bed early and getting up early. Children aged 1 to 2 years old need 11 to 14 hours of sleep per day, and 10 to 13 hours for children aged 3 to 5 years old. Be physically active for at least 1 hour every day to exercise physical strength and maintain health. The time for using 3C products or video games should be limited to less than 2 hours.

The advice for the elderly is to focus on the quality of sleep rather than the quantity. Studies have found that if the elderly sleep more than 9 hours a day, the risk of developing dementia will double. Therefore, it is recommended that the elderly sleep time is limited to 8 hours a day. If there are elders in the family who sleep for a long time, you can first pay attention to their physical condition to see if they have chronic diseases or sleep disorders. You can also pay attention to the medications and diet they take. Some daytime activities can be appropriately arranged for them so that they have something to do, make friends, and stay active.

The guidelines also mention some ways to improve sleep quality, including going outside to bask in the sun during the day, taking a walk, and performing other aerobic exercises. It is recommended that the daily caffeine intake should not exceed 400 mg, which is about the content of 4 cups of coffee. Try to finish your dinner 2 to 3 hours before going to bed, and avoid late-night snacks. You should take a bath one hour before going to bed and soak in warm water at 40 degrees Celsius for 15 to 20 minutes to relax your muscles and eliminate fatigue.

Bedtime rituals are also very important. Remember to reduce exposure to blue light and use 3C products one hour before going to bed. You can listen to your favorite music to relax and reduce brain activity. The darker the lights in the room when sleeping, the better to help improve sleep quality and allow the body to get sufficient rest. If you find the right method and get enough sleep time, you will sleep well and healthily.

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