Infants, children and teens all need more sleep than the average adult. For years, we've heard varying but similar ranges from different sources, but now a recent consensus statement by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has helped put this debate to bed. Image by atkinson000.
A panel of experts spent 10 months reviewing over 864 scientific studies that looked at the relationship between sleep and health in children. They came up with the following ideal sleep durations to promote optimal health in infants, children and teens:
- Infants (4-12 months old): 12 to 16 hours (including naps).
- Children (1-2 years old): 11 to 14 hours (including naps).
- Children (3-5 years old): 10 to 13 hours (including naps).
- Children (6-12 years old): 9 to 12 hours.
- Teenagers (13-18 years old): 8 to 10 hours.
It's important to note that these recommendations are based on a 24-hour period and that the benefits of healthy sleep also require regularity and good sleep quality. These guidelines have been supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Sleep Research Society, and the American Association of Sleep Technologists.
According to the research, this amount of sleep helps these groups avoid the negative effects that are associated with inadequate sleep, such as an increase in the risk of injuries, accidents, hypertension and depression. Interestingly, they found that sleeping more than the recommended hours isn't better for them either. If you're a parent concerned with your child's sleeping pattern (either sleeping too much or too little), consult your paediatrician about things you can do to improve their sleep quality.
Recommended Amount of Sleep for Pediatric Populations: A Consensus Statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine [Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine]