We know that people have differing opinions when it comes to sleep and how much you should be getting, but the American Academy of Pediatrics has endorsed a set of guidelines brought about by a study from the AASM (American Academy of Sleep Medicine), which serve as a great starting point for those trying to stick to better sleeping schedules.
Sleep Guidelines? What Are We Doing “Wrong?”
These guidelines do not insinuate that we are not sleeping correctly, but rather point toward daily numbers of hours that age groups should be sleeping to support “optimal health.” This means lower risks of injuries, hypertension, obesity, and depression. Yes, all have been linked to not receiving enough sleep daily. There are upsides too, though! Mental and physical health are improved with adequate daily sleep, particularly better emotional regulation and memory, as well as improved learning and attention span. It’s fair to say that we all want that for ourselves and our families.
Before we break down that age groups and optimal hours of sleep, let’s highlight a good starting point for better sleep: 30 minutes prior to attempting to fall asleep, turn off all screen devices. That means phones, televisions, tablets, computers, virtual reality headsets (hey, we’re covering all bases here), and even e-books. It might seem comfortable to fall asleep while playing a game on our phones or laughing at some funny cat videos, but giving ourselves at least half an hour without screens will help develop a sleep routine that helps us fall asleep daily and get our optimal sleep without struggle.
The Guidelines! (finally)
The consensus group recommends the following sleep hours:
- Infants 4 months to 12 months should sleep 12 to 16 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
- Children 1 to 2 years of age should sleep 11 to 14 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
- Children 3 to 5 years of age should sleep 10 to 13 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
- Children 6 to 12 years of age should sleep 9 to 12 hours per 24 hours on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
- Teenagers 13 to 18 years of age should sleep 8 to 10 hours per 24 hours on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
Do your best to meet your daily sleep requirements, and help your family to do so as well! Our health is something we are working on always, even when we’re not awake!