How much sleep do children really need?

After due diligence over the health consequences of too much sleep or too little sleep, a panel of experts formed by the US National Sleep Foundation has made new age-based recommendations on how much sleep people need.

While newborns require up to three months 14 to 17 hours of sleep each day, infants from four to eleven months should get at least 12 to 15 hours of sleep daily, said the researchers in their recommendations. The fact is that most kids aged between 5 and 12 years get about 9.5 hours sleep a night, but experts now recommend 10 or 11 hours each night.

The experts also said that teenagers from 14 to 17 years require a minimum of hours of sleep, and adults should sleep for more than 7 hours daily but not more than nine hours in a day.

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The experts also said the parents should ensure their school-going children in the age group of six to 13 years sleep for not less than 9 hours at night. If they sleep up to 11 hours, it is good, said the panel in its recommendations.

Interestingly, the panel said it is fine if toddlers of one to two years of age sleep for 11 to 14 hours, they have given one hour reduction for children aged between three and five years at 11 to 13 hours of sleep.

The panel drawn from multidisciplines has examined findings from 320 studies reporting sleep duration of healthy individuals, effects of reduced or prolonged sleep duration and health consequences of too much sleep or too little sleep.

“The process was very rigorous,” said member of the expert panel Lydia DonCarlos, professor at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine in the US.

The study has been published in the journal Sleep Health: Journal of the National Sleep Foundation.

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