New Research Reveals Exactly How Much Sleep Your Child Needs


New guidelines have been issued revealing how much sleep your child should be getting [Photo: Rex Features]

Getting your baby to nod off for longer than ten minutes can seem like an achievement for some frazzled new parents. So news that a group of sleep specialists have issued a set of guidelines over how much shut-eye kids should be getting could well be the metaphorical nail in the cotbed. But parents shouldn’t lose too much sleep over it.

The recommendations by researchers from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine were published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine and backed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) are aiming to take the guesswork out of exactly how much sleep kids need.

The guidelines range from up to 16 hours daily for babies to at least eight hours for teens.


Some experts have criticised the guidelines for not being specific enough [Photo: Rex Features]

According to the research, the right amount of sleep is linked with improved attention, behaviour, learning, mental and physical health. And lack of sleep increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, accidents, and depression.

The sleep patterns of newborns vary greatly, but for children older than 4 months, sleep experts recommend the following cumulative hours of sleep, including naps, for every 24 hours:

• Infants 4 to 12 months: 12 to 16 hours

• Children 1 to 2 years: 11 to 14 hours

• Children 3 to 5 years: 10 to 13 hours

• Children 6 to 12 years: 9 to 12 hours

• Teens 13 to 18 years: 8 to 10 hours

But some experts claim the new guidelines are not specific enough.

Maryanne Taylor, sleep consultant at The Sleep Works, said the range of hours given is “far too broad.”

“I don’t believe that telling a parent that 12-16 hours including naps for babies of four to 12 months is helpful,” she told The Huffington Post UK.

“There is a huge difference between 12 hours and 16 hours so while an eight-month-old baby sleeping 12 hours over a 24-hour period fits within the new guidelines, they may actually need closer to 15 or 16 hours, so are not getting enough sleep.”


Night night! [Photo: Rex Features]

So what can parents do to ensure their child gets a good night’s zzzz? The NHS website recommends putting a structured bedtime routine in place, turning off all electronic screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime and keeping television, computers and games consoles out of kids’ bedrooms. They also recommend keeping children’s bedrooms dark, tidy and at a temperature between 18-24C.

What do you think of the new guidelines? Let us know @YahooStyleUK

Maryanne Taylor, sleep consultant at The Sleep Works will be doing a Live Facebook Chat with us on Thursday at 2pm. Head to the Facebook page to get your sleep dilemmas answered.

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