Maybe we should change the old saying – “you snooze, you lose” to….”if you don’t snooze, you lose.” A lack of sleep is a huge problem in our country, with 50-to-70 million adults struggling to get enough shut eye. But it isn’t just adults – a new study points out the risks kids face if they fail to get the sleep they need.
How much sleep? Here are the latest recommendations just released by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine:
- Babies 4 months to 12 months: 12 to 16 hours
- Children 1 to 2 years old: 11 to 14 hours
- Children 3 to 5 years old: 10 to 13 hours
- Children 6 to 12 years old: nine to 12 hours
- Teenagers 13 to 18 years old: eight to 10 hours
When kids meet the adequate number of sleep hours for their age on a regular basis, they’re likely to see benefits including better behavior, attention span, learning, memory, emotional regulation, and overall quality of life, said consensus paper author Dr. Lee Brooks, an attending pulmonologist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
CNN quoted Dr. Shalini Paruthi, moderator of the Pediatric Consensus Panel of 13 sleep experts and a fellow of the academy, as saying one of the striking findings is that “in teenagers sleeping less or more than the recommended hours, we saw more feelings of hopelessness, suicidal thoughts and suicidal attempts. We also saw more tobacco use, alcohol use and illicit drug use.” She added that drowsy teenage drivers have a higher risk of getting into car accidents. A 2014 technical report (PDF) by the American Academy of Pediatrics calls a lack of sleep among adolescents “a public health issue.”
Reuters listed a few suggestions to promote better sleep.
- Don’t allow TV, cell phones, tablets or other electronic devices in the bedroom; in addition to distracting children and teens, they often emit light that delays sleep onset, according to Chan.
- Schedule homework, social and extracurricular activities at times that still permit adequate sleep.
- Limit intense activity in the hours before bedtime.
- Keep sleep schedules the same on weekdays, weekends and during school vacations.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report earlier this year saying that one-in-three adults don’t get enough sleep. Researchers hope that developing good sleep habits in children might one day translate into better sleep habits as those kids become adults.
Share your thoughts on how we can help children and adults get the sleep they need to lead healthier lives. The healthier we are, the closer we get to our goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!