Here’s a finding that should prompt parents to crack down on their kids’ screen time at night: New research shows that close to one-third of American children don’t get sufficient sleep.
That lack of sleep makes it harder for kids to learn and to behave well when challenged.
“It’s important for parents to recognize the widespread impact of not getting enough sleep, and the impact on a child’s flourishing. Sufficient sleep can help enhance child development,” said study author Dr. Hoi See Tsao. She’s a pediatric emergency fellow at the Alpert Medical School at Brown University, in Providence, R.I.
What qualifies as sufficient sleep? It’s probably more than you think. High schoolers should get between eight and 10 hours a night, while kids aged 6 to 12 should clock in between nine and 12 hours of shut-eye nightly, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Tsao said the researchers used the minimum number of hours for each age group to define a sufficient night of sleep in the study.
The study team looked at a nationally representative sample of nearly 50,000 kids and teens. Parents or caregivers were asked about the kids’ sleeping habits. They were also asked about markers that indicate if a child is flourishing in certain areas, such as expressing interest in learning new things or being able to calm down.
The researchers adjusted the findings to account for other factors that might impair a child’s ability to flourish, such as poverty, TV time, time with computers, phones, video games and other technology, abuse or neglect, and mental health conditions.