Friday, January 12, 2018

How Much Sleep Do We Need?

Over the years, we've written about sleep countless times. But one question that many families who come to The Yellin Center ask is just how much sleep is appropriate for students at different ages.

The National Sleep Foundation recently put together an expert panel, consisting of members of the American Academy of Pediatrics and 11 other groups, as well as half a dozen individual sleep experts. The panel reviewed existing literature and came up with recommendations for various age groups as follows:
  • Newborns (0-3 months)             14-17 hours per day
  • Infants (4-11 months)                12-15 hours
  • Toddlers (1-2 years)                   11-14 hours
  • Preschoolers (3-5 years)            10-13 hours
  • School age (6-13 years)               9-11 hours
  • Teenagers (14-17 years)               8-10 hours
  • Adults (18-64 years)                     7-9 hours
  • Older adults (65 years +)              7-8 hours
The panel noted, "Importantly, ... some individuals might sleep longer or shorter than the recommended times with no adverse effects. However, individuals with sleep durations far outside the normal range may be engaging in volitional sleep restriction or have serious health problems. An individual who intentionally restricts sleep over a prolonged period may be compromising his or her health and well-being."

There are variations in how much sleep children and adults need to thrive. But if your child -- or you -- is consistently sleeping outside these general guidelines, it could have an impact on learning and health, or be a symptom of an underlying medical issue. In either case, it is worth discussing with your physician. 

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