The sleep a child needs

For the first time, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has released official consensus recommendations for the amount of sleep children and teenagers need.

The recommendations are as follows:

  • Infants four to 12 months should sleep 12 to 16 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
  • Children one to two years of age should sleep 11 to 14 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
  • Children three to five years of age should sleep 10 to 13 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
  • Children six to 12 years of age should sleep nine to 12 hours per 24 hours on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
  • Teenagers 13 to 18 years of age should sleep eight to 10 hours per 24 hours on a regular basis to promote optimal health.

The benefits of sleep for children

The recommendations follow a 10-month project conducted by panel of sleep experts.

“Sleep is essential for a healthy life, and it is important to promote healthy sleep habits in early childhood,” said Dr. Shalini Paruthi, Pediatric Consensus Panel moderator and fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “It is especially important as children reach adolescence to continue to ensure that teens are able to get sufficient sleep.”

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The panel found that sleeping the recommended number of hours on a regular basis is associated with overall better health outcomes including: improved attention, behaviour, learning, memory, emotional regulation, quality of life, and mental and physical health.

When children don’t get enough sleep

On the other hand, sleeping fewer than the recommended hours is associated with attention, behaviour and learning problems. Insufficient sleep also increases the risk of accidents, injuries, hypertension, obesity, diabetes and depression. In teenagers, insufficient sleep is associated with increased risk of self-harm, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts.

There is such a thing as too much sleep

Additionally, the panel found that regularly sleeping more than the recommended hours may be associated with adverse health outcomes such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity and mental health problems.

Source: American Academy of Sleep Medicine via Sciencedaily.com

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