The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has endorsed the American Academy of Sleep Medicine's (AASM) new guidelines for recommended sleep for children from infants to teens. These guidlelines outline the amount of sleep children need to be at their best health. These guidelines were created from a panel of 13 sleep experts wo reviewed 864 scientific articles relating to sleep duration and the health of those children.
Here are the hours of sleep recommended -
-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
Babies younger than 4 months are not included because there is such a wide range of sleep patterns in newborns, and there is not enough research to offer guidelines for them.
Children with little sleep have been linked to poor memory recall, weight gain, feeling drowsy, injuries, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, depression and many other health problems.
The National Sleep Foundation has found that over 85% of teens do not get adequate sleep and research also shows that sleep-deprived teens are especially at risk for self-harm or suicidal thoughts.
Dr. Lee Brooks, an attending pulmonologist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, said, "We should get away from the idea that sleep is for slackers. It's something important to make you function during the day. It's been around for a billion years. It's biologically really important and we need to respect that."
They found when children and teens do get enough sleep they see better behavior, better attention span, learning, memory, emotional regulation, and overall quality of life.
How to get better sleep -
The AAP suggests that all screens be turned off 30 minutes before bedtime. They also suggest that TV, computers and other screens not be allowed at all in children's bedrooms.
For infants and young children, establishing a bedtime routine is important to help children get the proper amount of sleep each night. Start with brushing teeth, reading a book together (even infants as young as 6 months can enjoy "reading" a book with parents), and then get into bed around the same time each evening.