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Consistent Sleep Schedules with New Consensus Guideline

National Sleep Foundation Reinforces Consistent Sleep Schedules with New Consensus Guideline
Features evidence-based benefits for health and performance allows catch-up sleep on non-work days

Washington, D.C. (September 6, 2023): The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) issued a new guideline emphasizing the benefit of consistent sleep schedules on health and performance. The results are from a consensus report published in Sleep Health®, the Journal of the National Sleep Foundation, under the original title The importance of sleep regularity: a consensus statement of the National Sleep Foundation sleep timing and variability panel.

The NSF advances the public’s knowledge, behaviors, and practices by issuing definitive guidelines and recommendations for sleep health. NSF established an expert panel of some of the foremost authorities in sleep and circadian science to develop a consensus recommendation for consistent sleep schedules, reflecting an extensive analysis of the peer-reviewed literature on the subject.

The multidisciplinary expert panel found that consistent sleep and wake times are important for mental and physical health as well as academic and cognitive performance. Inconsistent sleep schedules are associated with negative health outcomes including obesity and diabetes, cardiovascular disease, immune dysfunction, cancer, and impaired mental health. Further, if sleep is insufficient on work days, sleeping an additional 1-2 hours a day (“catch-up sleep”) on non-work days can benefit most people as a method to help recover from sleep debt. 

“The Consensus Panel concluded that consistent timing of bedtimes and wake times are associated with improved outcomes across multiple dimensions of health and performance—including alertness, cardiovascular and metabolic health, inflammation and mental health,” said panel chair and senior author, Charles A. Czeisler, MD, PhD, Division Chief of Sleep and Circadian Disorders, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Frank Baldino, Jr., Ph.D. Professor of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Sleep is necessary for life. Getting less than the NSF-recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night, for most adults, and/or having poor sleep quality are associated with adverse health outcomes. “Translation of science to the public is core to the mission of the National Sleep Foundation. The findings in our consensus report reinforce important steps everyone can take to be their Best Slept Self®,” said NSF Vice President of Research and Scientific Affairs, Joseph Dzierzewski, PhD. “Maintaining consistent sleep and wake times and utilizing non-work days to help catch up on sleep are two tools most members of the public can use to promote sleep health.”

NSF thanks its international expert panel for conducting the literature review and analysis. Collectively, the panel reflects decades of clinical and research experience, more than 1,300 academic publications, and a Nobel laureate. Members from the expert panel are affiliated with the following institutions:

  • Monash University
  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Harvard Medical School
  • University of Oxford
  • Marshall University
  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • LMU Munich
  • The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  • Northwestern University
  • University of Washington
  • The Rockefeller University

Read the full results and methodology of the report here. For more information about sleep health, visit

About the National Sleep Foundation

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation dedicated to improving health and well-being through sleep education and advocacy. Founded in 1990, the NSF is committed to advancing excellence in sleep health theory, research and practice.

Media Contact:
Stephanie Kohn