The New Sleep Recommendations For Children

Like all parents, you want your child to have a healthy and rewarding life. However, that can be hindered by your child’s sleep habits. It’s important to understand how crucial sleep is for children and what you can do to help your child be better rested.

Recommended Sleep Durations For Children

Your child’s healthy sleep habits will and should change as they grow older. A newborn baby needs much more sleep than your adolescent. In order to support their rapid physical and mental growth, children should sleep much more than adults. The American Academy of Pediatrics has adopted the following new sleep recommendations of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine to promote optimal health. The guidelines cover a period of 24 hours and include naps for those children who still nap.

  • Infants age 4 to 12 months should sleep 12 to 16 hours.
  • Children age 1 to 2 years should sleep 11 to 14 hours.
  • Children age 3 to 5 years should sleep 10 to 13 hours.
  • Children age 6 to 12 years should sleep 9 to 12 hours.
  • Children age 13 to 18 years should sleep 8 to 10 hours.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you discuss these guidelines with your child’s pediatrician. The guidelines are meant to be general rules and may not apply to your child’s situation.

Recommended Practices To Promote Sleep

In addition to putting your children to bed at the right hour to ensure they get the recommended amount of sleep, there are a host of other practices you can adopt to encourage a restful night. It has become common for children to have devices such as smartphones, televisions, and computers in their bedrooms. However, it’s crucial that you control the amount of exposure to these devices before bedtime. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you turn off devices no less than 30 minutes before the lights go out. It also recommends that you remove televisions and computers from your child’s room altogether.

The American Academy of Pediatrics continues to recommend that you establish a daily bedtime routine for your children. Children will know what is expected every night and will be less likely to resist going to bed.

Recommended Intervention For Children With Trouble Sleeping

The signs of a sleep-deprived child may be hard to spot. Some children may be more agitated or frustrated than normal. Some children may appear lethargic and show little interest in activities like sports. Young children may become hyperactive and maybe even resist going to bed. Not getting enough sleep may also be associated with depression and anxiety in teens. This may lead some teens to harm themselves or have suicidal thoughts.

If you suspect that your child is suffering from a lack of sleep, you should talk to your pediatrician. Your child’s doctor can determine if your child needs more sleep or if there is an underlying physiological problem that requires treatment, such as snoring, sleep apnea, or obesity. All of these conditions can affect your child’s ability to breathe while sleeping, thus affecting the quantity and quality of sleep.

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