Are Your Kids Tired? More Than One-Third of Children Sleep Less Than They Should, Study Says

Here’s why it’s time to make bedtime earlier.

By: Amanda Mushro

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Photo by: Matt Carr

Matt Carr

If your child doesn’t get enough sleep, they can spend the next day cranky, tired, and just not acting like themselves. However, if your child continually doesn't get enough hours of sleep day after day, it could affect more than just their mood. From infants to teenagers, a new study says kids are not getting enough shut-eye at night and parents need to change everyone’s bedtime routines.

According to a new report from the CDC, "34.9 percent of children aged 4 months to 17 years sleep less than recommended for their age." For the study, researchers gathered sleep information from parents via a survey. What they found was kids overall aren't sleeping the recommended number of hours each night, and there were also other trends among kids who did not get enough sleep.

"The prevalence of short sleep duration was higher in southeastern states and among racial and ethnic minority groups, persons with low socioeconomic status, and those with special health care needs," the study claims. Researchers added that parents with kids who do not get enough sleep usually don’t get the adequate hours of sleep required for adults. So the whole family is tired.

Here’s how much sleep your family should be getting based on age:
Newborn 0-3 months; 14-17 hours
Infant 4-12 months; 12-16 hours (including naps)
Toddler 1-2 years; 11-14 hours (including naps)
Preschool 3-5 years; 10-13 hours (including naps)
School Age 6-12 years; 9-12 hours
Teen 13-18 years; 8-10 hours
Adult 18-60 years; 7 or more hours per night

Why is not getting enough sleep such a big deal? It’s more than just having tired kids. The CDC notes that kids of all ages — infants, children and adolescents — who do not get sufficient sleep at night are at increased risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, poor mental health, attention and behavior problems, and poor cognitive development.

"Clinicians and educators can guide parents about the importance of sleep at all ages and discuss sleep routines and sleep problems with parents, children, and adolescents, paying attention to those with special health care needs," the authors of the study write.

If everyone in your house is getting more sleep, there’s a good chance you will all be happier and healthier. We know it’s hard to get everything done in a day and get everyone to bed early in the evening. However, why not make a few changes tonight? Turn off the technology a few hours before bed, start your new and improved bedtime routine, and try to get everyone off to dreamland earlier.

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