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New Sleep Guidelines for Kids: Is Your Child Getting Enough?

The Short of It

A new report published in the "Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine" offers updated recommendations for how much snooze time your sweetie should be getting for optimal health.

The Lowdown

Sleeping. Is. Everything. And now, the American Academy of Pediatrics has backed new guidelines for how much shut-eye kids should get, as suggested by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Thirteen sleep medicine experts and researchers helped to develop the following recommendations for children between the ages of 4 months and 18 years old:

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

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Wait, kids older than 3 nap?! Maybe it's just my children who refused to even rest after their third birthdays. And I'll admit these guidelines definitely recommend more slumber than my kids—ages 2, 5 and 7—get every night, although we try! Really, we do.

Getting enough sleep is actually critically important for kids (um, and parents!) to ward off a wide range of issues from behavior problems, to poor health, to school performance. Dr. Lee Brooks, an attending pulmonologist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, even told CBS News that sleeping less is associated with kids getting injured more, developing hypertension, being obese, and getting depressed.

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The Upshot

It's worth noting experts didn't weigh in on recommendations for babies younger than 4 months, since there is such a wide range of what is normal, and sleep patterns are still being established. But researchers want to shine a spotlight on another age range they looked at for the report: teens.

"The majority don't get the sleep they need. The National Sleep Foundation has found that over 85 percent of teens lack adequate sleep," Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, a pediatrician with Seattle Children's Hospital and The Everett Clinic, said. "Deprivation and tiredness affect schoolwork, attention, mood, interactions, unhealthy weight risk and lifelong health habits."

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The study also highlights the need for parents to shut off screens at least a half an hour before bedtime to ward of wakefulness. Although every household is different, making a good night's sleep a priority should be a constant for all parents.

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