It seems like the need for 8 hours of sleep has been drilled into our heads our entire lives, but that recommended amount of sleep for adults may be changing.

Is it possible that 8 isn't great?

I'm in the 6 club, and some nights it's more like 4 or 5.  Some of that is my fault because I'll go out on a hot date even though I have to get up super early.  But I blame some of the lack of sleep on the kids too, do you?  One night last week I was almost asleep and opened my eyes to see the 6-year old in my room, an inch from my facing saying, "Mama, you left the closet door open and that scary dark is getting out."  My bad.  And then I was down to 5 hours of sleep that night.

Four or five is too little, but seven hours may be the new target amount of sleep.  Why? Brain function starts to decline after 8 hours of sleep, and something happens to the chemicals in our brains with too much sleep and it makes us crave unhealthy foods in response to stress, which can make us gain weight.  Our brains are in a prime spot after seven hours of sleep, and that makes it the healthiest time to wake up.

People who sleep between 6 and 1/2 and 7 and 1/2 hours per night have lower mortality rates, according to a new Wall Street Journal article.

Everyone has to find a sweet spot and then do their best to carve out that much time to lie down.  That's the challenge!  There are late night talk shows to watch, friends to text and homework assignments to finish, and a spouse with shoulders to rub before you can catch some zzz's.  No wonder we're yawning today.