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How much sleep should your child get?

HealthBy Sunday World
How much sleep should your child get?

Ever wondered how much sleep your youngsters need? New guidelines for babies, school-aged children and teenagers outline how many hours of sleep kids require to keep them at their best.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has released guidance on the optimal amount of shut-eye, according to a consensus group of 13 sleep medicine experts and researchers.

Unsurprisingly, babies came in at the top of the list for the most sleep required, with tots needing 16 hours. The guidelines urge teenagers should get eight to ten hours sleep, but that can vary depending on exact age.

They suggest the following amounts of sleep for optimal health:

Infants 4 months to 12 months: 12 to 16 hours per 24 hours, including naps.

Children 1 to 2 years: 11 to 14 hours per 24 hours, including naps.

Children 3 to 5 years: 10 to 13 hours per 24 hours, including naps.

Children 6 to 12 years: 9 to 12 hours per 24 hours.

Teens 13 to 18 years: 8 to 10 hours per 24 hours.

The guidelines have had the endorsement of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The group encourages parents to discuss the recommendations with paediatricians and GPs.

"Adequate sleep duration for age on a regular basis leads to improved attention, behaviour, learning, memory, emotional regulation, quality of life, and mental and physical health," AAP said in a statement."Not getting enough sleep each night is associated with an increase in injuries, hypertension, obesity and depression, especially for teens who may experience increased risk of self-harm or suicidal thoughts."

The experts also recommend that all electronic screens be turned off 30 minutes before bedtime and that TVs, computers and other screens not be allowed in children's bedrooms.

"For infants and young children, establishing a bedtime routine is important to ensuring children get adequate sleep each night," the organisation noted.

The full guidelines are published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

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