When it comes to sleep, kids aren’t exactly easy.
There are the ones who spend all day constantly yawning while others manage to crash right until 2 p.m. With all the changes that go on as they get older, it can be very difficult to know if their sleep patterns are healthy, or a symptom of something more severe. You could almost say it’s enough to make you toss and turn at night.
Thanks to new guidelines set forth by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, however, you can now rest easy. The panel of pediatric specialists just produced sleep recommendations for kids based on their age:
- Infants (4-12 months): 12 to 16 hours
- Toddlers (1-2 years): 11 to 14 hours
- Preschoolers (3-5 years): 10 to 13 hours
- School-age children (6-12 years): 9 to 12 hours
- Teenagers (13-18 years): 8 to 10 hours
These recommendations are the result of a 10-month project conducted by the Pediatric Consensus Panel involving 13 of the U.S.’ foremost sleep experts, so it’s safe to say these numbers are the real deal. In fact, researchers say that hitting these targets consistently will produce noticeable health outcomes such as “improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, emotional regulation, quality of life, and mental and physical health.”
On the flip side, not sleeping enough can have devastating consequences on children and teenagers.
“The panel found that sleeping fewer than the recommended hours is associated with attention, behavior and learning problems. Insufficient sleep also increases the risk of accidents, injuries, hypertension, obesity, diabetes and depression,” the researchers wrote. “The panel also found that insufficient sleep in teenagers is associated with increased risk of self-harm, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts.”
It’s also worth noting that sleeping more than the recommended amount is also associated with other adverse health problems, including obesity and hypertension. The takeaway here is that sticking to these schedules is critical for proper development.
Now excuse us while we go take a nap.