Study: Children Sleep Better When Parents Establish Rules, Limit Technology and Set a Good Example
WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 3, 2014)— Although sleep problems persist among many American children, parents can make a difference by setting boundaries around electronics use, enforcing rules and setting a good example. These are the latest findings from the National Sleep Foundation’s (NSF) Sleep in America® poll , an annual study that began in 1991. The 2014 poll took a deeper look into the sleep practices and beliefs of the modern family with school-aged children.
“For children, a good night’s sleep is essential to health, development and performance in school,” said Kristen L. Knutson, PhD, University of Chicago. “We found that when parents take action to protect their children’s sleep, their children sleep better.”
Many children get less sleep on school nights than they should, with some getting less sleep than their own parents think they need. The poll asked parents to estimate how much sleep their child typically gets on a school night. Parents’ estimates of sleep time are 8.9 hours for children ages 6 to 10, 8.2 hours for 11 and 12 year olds, 7.7 hours for 13 and 14 year olds and 7.1 hours for teens ages 15 through 17.
The NSF recommends that children ages 6 to 10 get 10 to 11 hours of sleep per night, and that children in the other three age groups get 8.5 to 9.5 hours per night. View the NSF’s sleep time recommendations .
Parents were also asked how much sleep their child needs to be at their best, and 26 percent estimated this number to be at least one hour more than they say their child actually gets on school nights.
Parents do understand the importance of quality sleep even if they do not always think their children get it; more than 9 in 10 parents think sleep is extremely or very important for their child’s performance in school, health and well-being, and mood and behavior the next day.