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New Sleep Guidelines for Children Announced

New Sleep Guidelines for Children Announced


There are new guidelines for children, from doctors who specialize in sleep disorders, detailing how much sleep children of every age should get, according to LiveScience.

This is the first set of recommendations ever released by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, which states:

  • 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 American Academy of Pediatrics endorsed the new guidelines, and also recommended that all screens, such as TVs and computers, are turned off at least 30 minutes before bedtime, and that parents not allow kids to have screens in their bedrooms.

“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.”

The recommendations follow a 10-month project conducted by a Pediatric Consensus Panel, which found that sleeping the number of recommended hours on a regular basis is associated with overall better health outcomes including: improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, emotional regulation, quality of life, and mental and physical health. 



Children who don't get enough sleep every night may have a greater risk of injuries, hypertension, obesity and depression. And teens who don't get adequate sleep may have an increased risk of self-harm or suicidal thoughts, research has shown

“More than a third of the U.S. population is not getting enough sleep, and for children who are in the critical years of early development, sleep is even more crucial,” said Dr. Nathaniel Watson, 2015 – 2016 president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “Making sure there is ample time for sleep is one of the best ways to promote a healthy lifestyle for a child.”

However, the authors noted, kids who regularly sleep more than what's recommended for their age group also may have a higher risk of adverse health outcomes, including high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and mental health problems, according to the guidelines.

The AASM consensus statement is published in the June issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine and will be discussed this week during SLEEP 2016, the 30th Anniversary Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC (APSS) in Denver.

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Author: Linda DiProperzio has written extensively on parenting issues for Parents, American Baby, Parenting, and Family Circle, among others. She lives in New York with her husband and two sons. See More

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