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Children Today Don't Get Enough Sleep, But Neither Did Their Parents, Grandparents Nor Great-Grandparents


Concerns that children do not get enough sleep are widespread -- and longstanding. In the article, "Never Enough Sleep: A Brief History of Sleep Recommendations for Children," in the March 2012 Pediatrics (published online Feb. 13), study authors track more than a century's worth of advice regarding children's sleep, comparing it to data on how much children actually slept over the years. 

On average, age-specific sleep recommendations declined about 0.71 minutes per year between 1897 and 2009. The rate of decline is almost identical to the decline in actual sleep duration of children, about 0.73 minutes per year. Actual sleep was consistently about 37 minutes less than recommended sleep. Throughout the study period, concerns were expressed that modern life and overstimulation prevented children from getting the sleep they needed. Study authors noted that most guidelines specifically acknowledge the lack of empirical evidence regarding how much sleep children need.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.