How much sleep does your child need?

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How much sleep does your child need?

As a mother of three, ranging in age from 4-13, one topic that comes up frequently is sleep. This topic seems to come up more now that I have a teenager and a pre-teen.  My toddler doesn’t question my sleep recommendations, but my older boys have begun to. They often think my husband and I are crazy for making them go to bed at nine, especially since many of their friends stay up much later.

Rules are rules in our house, but I did want to look up some “scientific” evidence to support our household bedtimes. I looked up the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations. Here are the most important parts of what I found:


American Academy of Pediatrics Supports Childhood Sleep Guidelines 

​The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued a Statement of Endorsement supporting the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) guidelines outlining recommended sleep duration for children from infants to teens. The guidelines, “Recommended Amount of Sleep for Pediatric Populations” will be published June 13 in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. The AAP endorses the guidelines and encourages pediatricians to discuss these recommendations and healthy sleep habits with parents and teens during clinical visits.

The consensus group recommends the following sleep hours:

  • Infants 4 months to 12 months should sleep 12 to 16 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
  • Children 1 to 2 years of age should sleep 11 to 14 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
  • Children 3 to 5 years of age should sleep 10 to 13 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
  • Children 6 to 12 years of age should sleep 9 to 12 hours per 24 hours on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
  • Teenagers 13 to 18 years of age should sleep 8 to 10 hours per 24 hours on a regular basis to promote optimal health.

The group found that adequate sleep duration for age on a regular basis leads to improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, emotional regulation, quality of life, and mental and physical health. Not getting enough sleep each night is associated with an increase in injuries, hypertension, obesity and depression, especially for teens who may experience increased risk of self-harm or suicidal thoughts.


I can proudly say that my four year old meets the above recommendations for sleep, but sadly my older children often fall short of the amount of sleep they should be getting. The list of consequences for not getting an adequate amount of sleep are definitely frightening! Hopefully, my children won’t think I am crazy now for making them go to bed at nine on a school night! However, it doesn’t really matter what they think since I am the parent!

 

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