The American Academy of Sleep Medicine, aided by a panel of experts, has released its first-ever official sleep recommendations for children.
Wendy Hall, a UBC sleep specialist and nursing professor, and the only Canadian on the 13-member committee, says the information was necessary as a lack of sleep is a growing concern.
“Most parents and care providers don’t really know how much sleep children should be getting,” she said in a news release.
The new guidelines, similar to the ones given by the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS), have already been endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Each group seems to have come to a consensus that people don’t take sleep seriously, and that proper rest is as important to health as dieting and exercise.
CPS is pushing their sleep-more awareness initiative through their endorsement of the Canadian 24 Hour Movement Behaviour Guidelines for Children and Youth.
The guidelines presented there “will harmonize recommendations for physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep, and will represent the first time these behaviours are integrated as a single recommendation,” according to its website.
“Sleep is absolutely integral to physical growth as well as development, cognitive and emotional development,” says Dr. Hilary Myron, a pediatric sleep specialist at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa. “It’s absolutely critical.”
People who are well-rested – regardless of age – enjoy improved attention, behaviour, memory, and general mental and physical health. Sleep deprivation has serious consequences, including a susceptibility to injuries, hypertension, depression, and even obesity.
Myron’s solution to avoiding those sleep-deprived, likely-cranky kids?
“It’s having a consistent sleep routine, seven days a week, with a consistent sleep time and wake time,” Myron told CBC News. “And removing screens from their children’s bedroom.”