This is how long your child should sleep every day

All parents know that sleep is a hugely important part of their child's health (and their own) but a new study has reported exactly how much sleep is needed.

For the first time, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has released official consensus recommendations for the amount of sleep needed to promote optimal health in children and teenagers to avoid the health risks of insufficient sleep.

The recommendations are as follows:

  • Infants: 4 - 12 months: 12 to 16 hours
  • Children: 1 - 2 years: 11 to 14 hours
  • Children 3 - 5 years: 10 to 13 hours
  • Children 6 - 12 years: 9 to 12 hours
  • Teenagers: 13 - 8 years: 8 to 10 hours

“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 Pediatric Consensus Panel 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. 

The panel found that sleeping fewer than the recommended hours is associated with attention, behavior and learning problems. Insufficient sleep also increases the risk of accidents, injuries, hypertension, obesity, diabetes and depression. The panel also found that insufficient sleep in teenagers is associated with increased risk of self-harm, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts.

“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.”

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.

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