The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recently released its first official recommendations for the amount of sleep necessary for children and teenagers to stay healthy.
The recommendations stem from a 10-month review of 864 scientific articles conducted by 13 top sleep experts. Sleeping less than the recommended amount was found to be linked to problems with attention, behaviour and learning, as well as chronic health issues, the panel warned.
The panel recommended that:
- Infants between four to 12 months should sleep 12 to 16 hours per day (including naps).
- Children between one and two years old should sleep 11 to 14 hours (including naps).
- Kids between age three and five should sleep 10 to 13 hours (including naps).
- Those between six and 12 years of age need nine to 12 hours.
- Teenagers between 13 and 18 years of age require eight to 10 hours of sleep.
Children and teenagers who sleep the recommended amounts had improved attention, behaviour, learning, memory, quality of life and emotional regulation, as well as better mental and physical health, according to the panel.
“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,” Dr. Nathaniel Watson, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, said in a statement.
Not getting enough sleep increases the risk of accidents, injuries and chronic diseases, including obesity, diabetes and depression. And for teenagers, insufficient sleep is associated with a higher risk of self-harm, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, according to the panel.
“Making sure there is ample time for sleep is one of the best ways to promote a healthy lifestyle for a child,” Watson said.
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