Sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle – just like diet and exercise – but often goes overlooked by most. Not getting enough healthy sleep can cause myriad common, serious health problems and can lead to early death. To increase the awareness and urgency for Americans to prioritize sleep, experts from client the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) joined a panel of their colleagues in sleep medicine – the first of its kind – to evaluate the evidence about how much sleep the average adult needs. Out of these meetings came the first official expert consensus on sleep duration: adults need at least 7 hours of healthy sleep for optimal health. Another interesting aspect of the consensus is that too much sleep is not a culprit in disease. After learning of the announcement, the TODAY Show featured two panel members from the AASM on its website, which reaches nearly 10 million people each month. Make sure you’re scheduling enough time to get the recommended amount of sleep, and see a sleep specialist if you are at risk for sleep problems.