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How much sleep do children need?

Filed in
  • Pediatrics
  • Sleep Need

Thomas M. Heffron  |  Jul 21, 2016
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Sleep is essential for optimal health in children and teens. But how many hours of sleep should your child get on a regular basis?

To answer this question, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine gathered a panel of 13 sleep experts. They reviewed more than 850 scientific articles. After multiple rounds of discussion and voting, they agreed on the following recommendations.

To promote optimal health, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that children should get the following amounts of sleep on a regular basis:
  • Infants 4 months to 12 months old: 12 to 16 hours (including naps)
  • Children 1 to 2 years old: 11 to 14 hours (including naps)
  • Children 3 to 5 years old: 10 to 13 hours (including naps)
  • Children 6 to 12 years old: 9 to 12 hours
  • Teens 13 to 18 years old: 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. She was the moderator of the expert panel.

Research shows that children who get a healthy amount of sleep on a regular basis have better mental and physical health. They also display better attention, behavior, learning, memory and emotional regulation.

In contrast, children who regularly fail to get enough sleep have more behavior and learning problems. They also have a higher risk of health problems. These include high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and depression.

Teens who consistently don’t get enough sleep also have an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and attempted suicide. Children and teens also may have more health problems if they regularly get too much sleep.

Talk to your child’s doctor if you have concerns about your child’s sleep. Get help for your child’s sleep problem at a sleep center that is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Read the consensus statement, “Recommended Amount of Sleep for Pediatric Populations.”
Recommended sleep duration for children and teens

1 Comment

  1. 1 William Black 08 Aug
    Great article

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