Official Sleep Recommendations for Children, Adolescents

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Official Sleep Recommendations for Children, Adolescents
Official Sleep Recommendations for Children, Adolescents

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has released consensus recommendations for the amount of sleep needed to maintain optimal health in children and adolescents.

The consensus statement, published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, was presented during SLEEP 2016 in Denver, CO, this week.

The AASM recommendations are:

  • Infants 4 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.

“Sleep is essential for a healthy life, and it is important to promote healthy sleep habits in early childhood,” Shalini Paruthi, MD, Pediatric Consensus Panel moderator and fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, said in a statement. “It is especially important as children reach adolescence to continue to ensure that teens are able to get sufficient sleep.”

The consensus recommendation was the result of a 10-month project conducted by the Pediatric Consensus Panel. The panel reviewed 864 research articles, in which they found that sleeping less than the recommended hours is associated with problems with attention, behavior, and learning, and increases the risk of injuries, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and depression. Notably, the panel also found that insufficient sleep in teenagers was associated with a greater risk of self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and suicide attempts.

Conversely, the panel also found that sleeping more than the recommended hours may promote similar adverse metabolic and cognitive outcomes as sleeping too little.

The panel stressed that healthy sleep is not only dependent on sleep duration, but also appropriate timing, regularity, and sleep quality.

The recommendations are endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Sleep Research Society, and the American Association of Sleep Technologists.  

For more information, go here.

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