New guidelines reveal optimum number of hours for babies, kids and teens

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Young boy child sleeping

If your child is 6 to 12 year old they should be getting at least 9 hours of sleep per night

Published by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine the specific number of hours varies depending on the age of the child. New guidelines have been published by a group of researches and doctors outlining how much sleep children should be getting per night.

The recommendations range from up to sixteen hours for babies to up to eight hours for teens.

The paper revealed the detrimental consequences of children not getting enough sleep, showing how sleep patterns impact on both babies ‘ health and wellbeing.

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Crying baby in highchair
Looks familiar? Researchers have looked at how sleep impacts children’s behaviour

So how much sleep should your child be getting? The optimum number of hours were outlined as:

  • Infants 4 to 12 months: 12 to 16 hours of sleep every 24 hours (including naps).
  • Children 1 to 2 years: 11 to 14 hours of sleep every 24 hours (including naps).
  • Children 3 to 5 years: 10 to 13 hours of sleep every 24 hours (including naps).
  • Children 6 to 12 years: 9 to 12 hours of sleep every 24 hours.
  • Teens 13 to 18 years: 8 to 10 hours of sleep every 24 hours.

The research shows that if children manage to clock up the required amount of shut-eye it benefits both their health and overall happiness.

They are likely to have better behaviour, attention span, learning, memory and overall quality of life.

Not getting enough sleep is linked with injuries, obesity, diabetes and childhood depression. They are also more irritable, something many parents no doubt would vouch for.

Sleep-deprived teens are especially at risk of self-harm or suicidal thoughts.

The study was endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, where a number of experts analysed previous research on how sleep affects children’s health and emotional well-being.

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watching television
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The guidelines however didn’t include sleep recommendations for babies younger than 4 months, as the sleep patterns in infants this young are too varied. There’s no scientific evidence linking an optimum number of hours sleep to a baby’s health for children in this age group.

One of the factors to children not getting enough sleep was exposure to screens before bedtime .

The paper advised that all screens should be turned off at least half a hour before going to sleep. This is due to the affect a bright screen has on making people feel awake.

The biggest tip on keeping kids off screens before bed was simply removing temptation. The experts suggested that all televisions, computers and smartphones be kept out of the bedrooms.

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And it can be detrimental if kids are getting too much sleep.

The authors noted that children who are over-sleeping may be at risk at having higher blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and mental health problems. Therefore sticking within the outlined range will help parents determine what exactly they should be aiming for with their bedtime routines.

If you’re concerned that your child is getting too much or too little sleep, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggests you consult your doctor.

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