More sleep could prevent teen deaths, expert panel says
A new report pushes for even more sleep for kids — and the most sleep for infants and toddlers.
The report from the the American Academy of Sleep Medicine calls for 12 to 16 hours of sleep for infants and 11 to 14 hours for toddlers, including naps.
"We really recommend understanding the importance of getting good sleep every night," Dr. Shalini Paruthi says.
Paruthi says they also looked at the number one and number two reasons for death in adolescence: motor vehicle crashes and suicide.
"If there is any rule that we can sort of get them better rested, and that may reduce their risk of these two causes of death, that would be fantastic."
Experts have long recommended having teens start their school days at a later hour. Last year, state lawmakers passed a law requiring the state Department of Education to conduct a study on the issues, benefits, and options for instituting a later start time at middle and high schools.
The Academy's panel of expert reviewed 864 published studies in making their recommendations.
Some other age group recommendations, according to Paruthi:
— For 3- to 5-year-olds, 10 to 13 hours every day, including naps.
— For kids in grade school, 6 to 12 years of age, 9 to 12 hours of sleep a day was associated with optimal health.
The recommendations for teens indicated that sleep for up to 10 hours daily.
Paruthi said they see a lot of people, especially the young, relying on energy drinks or energy bars that are loaded with caffeine or other substances to stay more alert.
"If you really look at what is the number one enhancer for performance, it is actually sleep," she says. "We see grades improve, we see relationships with other children and emotional well-being... we see all of these things improve if they are getting enough sleep on a regular basis."
Paruthi says even as adults, we never outgrow the value of a good night's sleep. She says a similar panel was convened last year by the AASM, and after reviewing over a thousand research papers, they concluded that adults need at least seven hours, preferably more, to promote optimal health on a daily basis.
" We really want people to realize the importance of getting good sleep on a nightly basis."
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor at New Jersey 101.5