Less Than Half of Kids Get Enough Sleep During the Week, Study Says

Here’s another reason to get your kids to bed early tonight.

By: Amanda Mushro

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Just in time for Daylight Savings, a new study suggests that kids aren’t getting enough sleep and missing extra hours could cause more harm than a few mid-day yawns.

According to the research, more than half of school-age children aren't getting the recommended nine hours of sleep per night. Researchers used data from the National Survey of Children’s' Health, where parents of over 49,000 kids ranging between 6-17 years old shared how much sleep their kids were getting on weeknights. Turns out, only 47.6 percent achieved the recommended average.

While anything close to nine hours of sleep sounds amazing to tired parents, younger kids need more Z’s than adults. A lack of sleep, the findings warn, may be affecting kids in ways parents don’t always recognize.

“Chronic sleep loss is a serious public health problem among children,” said abstract author Hoi See Tsao, MD, FAAP. “Insufficient sleep among adolescents, for example, is associated with physical and mental health consequences, including increased risk of depression and obesity and negative effects on mood, attention and academic performance.”

For the kids who are getting a full nine hours of sleep on weeknights, researchers found they “are significantly more likely to show a positive outlook toward school” and other signs of “childhood flourishing.”

So how much sleep should your kids be getting? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 12-16 hours for infants, 11-14 hours for toddlers, 10-13 hours for preschoolers, 9-12 hours for kids ages 6-12 years and 8-10 hours for teenagers.

While getting your kid to bed earlier may seem like a stretch, experts agree that it will help. Start with tucking your little ones in 15 minutes earlier than usual and continue to adjust by the same increment.