The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has issued new recommendations for how much sleep babies, children and teenagers should be getting per night in order to avoid the negative health effects of sleep deprivation.
“Sleep is essential for a healthy life, and it is important to promote healthy sleep habits in early childhood. It is especially important as children reach adolescence to continue to ensure that teens are able to get sufficient sleep,” Shalini Paruthi, MD, moderator of the expert consensus panel that developed the recommendations, said in a statement.
In order to promote optimal health, the AASM has recommended parents ensure their children get the following amounts of sleep per 24 hours.
- Infants 4 to 12 months: 12 to 16 hours of sleep (including naps);
- Children 1 to 2 years of age: 11 to 14 hours (including naps);
- Children 3 to 5 years of age: 10 to 13 hours (including naps);
- Children 6 to 12 years of age: 9 to 12 hours; and
- Teenagers 13 to 18 years of age: 8 to 10 hours.
Parents should also take care to observe the upper limits of these ranges when putting their children to bed. Too much sleep can also pose a health hazard.
Children and parents who observe these sleep ranges can expect to experience benefits such as better behavior, attention span, learning, memory, emotional regulation, and overall quality of life, said consensus paper author Dr. Lee Brooks, an attending pulmonologist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. On the flip side, inadequate amounts of sleep has been linked to increased risk of hypertension, obesity, diabetes and depression. Lack of sleep has also been linked to suicidal thoughts in teenagers.
“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.”