Bedtime is pretty sacred in my house for a number of reasons.
- This mama needs her me-time.
- Routine is one of the only things that keeps this household running.
- Tired kids are no fun.
With the holidays in sight, my older kids have been pushing for a later bedtime. However, I rarely compromise on bedtimes as I firmly believe that kids (and parents!) need their sleep. It’s when our minds and bodies recharge.
Did you know that scientists have found that while kids sleep a hormone is released that stimulates growth? Sleep also contributes to strengthening the immune system.
Research also shows that sleep helps regulate appetite, body weight and control blood glucose levels.
In fact, a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that the amount of sleep children get has a correlation with childhood obesity. The results showed that preschoolers with late weekday bedtimes were twice as likely to be obese as adolescents, as those with early bedtimes.
Obviously, when it comes to getting enough sleep, bedtimes are dependent on wake-up times. If your child is an early riser, their bedtime should be earlier (in theory).
So how much sleep do kids need?
In 2015, a panel of experts got together to examine the scientific evidence and determine how much sleep is needed to promote optimal health in children and teenagers.
A consensus statement was released by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) with the following recommendations:
- Infants 4 to 12 months should sleep 12 to 16 hours per 24 hours (including naps).
- Children one to two years of age should sleep 11 to 14 hours per 24 hours (including naps).
- Children 3 to 5 years of age should sleep 10 to 13 hours per 24 hours (including naps).
- Children 6 to 12 years of age should sleep 9 to 12 hours.
- Teenagers 13 to 18 years of age should sleep 8 to 10 hours.
The Pediatric Consensus Panel found that sleeping the number of recommended hours on a regular basis is associated with overall better health outcomes including emotional regulation, quality of life, and mental and physical health.
Furthermore, the panel found that sleeping fewer than the recommended hours is associated with:
- attention, behaviour and learning problems.
- increased risk of accidents, injuries, hypertension, obesity, diabetes and depression.
- increased risk of self-harm, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempt in teenagers.
If that’s not a case for putting the kids early to bed tonight, I don’t know what is!