For the first time ever the Americian Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has issued recommendations, published in the the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine June 13, 2016, for the appropriate amount of sleep for children and teenagers helping them to avoid health risks associated with insufficient sleep.
“Sleep is essential for a healthy life, and it is important to promote healthy sleep habits in early childhood. It is especially important as children reach adolescence to continue to ensure that teens are able to get sufficient sleep,” said Dr. Shaline Paruthi, MD, the moderator of the expert panel who formulated the recomendation also stated the following in a statement.
“To promote optimal health, the recommendations advise the following amount of sleep (per 24 hours) on a regular basis:
- Infants 4 to 12 months: 12 to 16 hours of sleep(including naps);
- Children 1 to 2 years of age: 11 to 14 hours (including naps);
- Children 3 to 5 years of age: 10 to 13 hours (including naps);
- Children 6 to 12 years of age: 9 to 12 hours; and
- Teenagers 13 to 18 years of age: 8 to 10 hours.
The panels found that when children sleep the recommended hours on a regular basis overall better health prevails, they exhibit improved attention, behaviour, learning, memory, emotional health, quality of life and mental and physical health.
Highlighting the benefits of good quality to sleep according to Dr Paruthi “That is, when they do sleep more and within the recommended ranges, they will perform better. We that kids are consuming energy drinks, but really the best enchancer of performance is sleep whether its in the classroom or out on the field”.
The negative findings of insufficient sleep is increased risk of self harm, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts. Sleep more than the regular recommended amount also has risk to health such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity and mental health problems.
Parents need to be roles models too and get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep . Sleep needs to be prioritised.
Good sleep hygiene practices like not using electronic devices after 8pm and turning off tv 30-40 minute before sleep and having a bed time routine. Read gentle easy reading material prior to bed and hygiene routine is ideal for older children and adults. Ideally young children should not be exposed to electronic devices and have a bath and a bedtime story prior to bed. All would benefit from no electronic devices in the bedroom.
Craniosacral Therapy and Bowen technique are great therapies to help regulate sleep cycles in adults and children. Over the years many children and adults have reported better sleep and improved dreams. When I appeared on RTE Baby on Board in 2007 episode 7 as their expert Craniosacral Therapist, the toddler I work with went from 1.5 hrs sleep at a time to sleeping straight through 12-13 hours sleep.