How much sleep does your child need?

A lack of sleep in childhood can lead to obesity, diabetes and depression later in life. Photo/Getty
A lack of sleep in childhood can lead to obesity, diabetes and depression later in life. Photo/Getty

Ever wondered how much sleep your youngsters really need?

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has released guidelines on the optimal amount of shut-eye from four months old to adulthood.

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

Despite a tendency towards staying up late, teenagers still need at least 8 hours  sleep. Photo / Getty
Despite a tendency towards staying up late, teenagers still need at least 8 hours sleep. Photo / Getty

Experts said a good night's rest is just as important for children as healthy eating and exercise.

Studies have shown children who don't get enough sleep are at a greater risk of obesity when they get older, as sleep deprivation leads to increased cravings for energy dense, sugary or starchy foods.

Insufficient sleep can also increase the risk of diabetes, accidents and depression.

The sleep experts worked with the American Academy of Pediatrics to develop these recommendations:

• 12 to 16 hours for infants aged 4-12 months, babies younger than four months were not included as they have a wide range of normal sleep patterns.
• 11 to 14 hours for children aged 1-2 years.
• 10 to 13 hours for children aged 3-5 years.
• 9 to 12 hours for children aged 6-12 years.
• 8 to 10 hours for teens aged 13-18 years.

Signs children are getting enough sleep include getting up easily in the morning, staying alert during the day, and maintaining a good mood over the course of the day.

-nzherald.co.nz

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 24 Feb 2017 19:19:32 Processing Time: 496ms