Portrait of cute lad sleeping with his head on copybooks in classroom

New Study Finds 1 in 3 Children Don’t Get Enough Sleep

The CDC shared that infants, children, and adolescents who do not get sufficient sleep are at increased risk for injuries, obesity, type 2 diabetes, poor mental health, attention and behavior problems, and poor cognitive development (1). The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) provides age-specific sleep duration recommendations to promote optimal health (1). CDC analyzed data from the 2016–2018 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) to assess the prevalence of short sleep duration among persons in the United States aged 4 months–17 years. Overall, on the basis of parent report, 34.9% of persons aged 4 months–17 years slept less than recommended for their age. The prevalence of short sleep duration was higher in southeastern states and among racial and ethnic minority groups, persons with low socioeconomic status, and those with special health care needs. The prevalence of short sleep duration ranged from 31.2% among adolescents aged 13–17 years to 40.3% among infants aged 4–11 months. Persons aged 4 months–17 years with a regular bedtime were more likely to get enough sleep. Public health practitioners, educators, and clinicians might advise parents on the importance of meeting recommended sleep duration and implementing a consistent bedtime for healthy development.

NSCH is a population-based, nationally representative online and paper survey of parents or primary caregivers (parents) of noninstitutionalized U.S. persons aged ≤17 years. The survey is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau under the direction of the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau.* NSCH asks parents about the physical and emotional health of one person aged ≤17 years selected at random from the household, as well as health care access and family characteristics. The weighted overall response rates were 40.7% in 2016, 37.4% in 2017, and 43.1% in 2018. Sleep duration questions were “During the past week, how many hours of sleep did this child get on an average day (count both nighttime sleep and naps)?”§ for infants and children aged 0–5 years, and for children and adolescents aged 6–17 years, “During the past week, how many hours of sleep did this child get on an average weeknight?” On the basis of AASM recommendations (1), short sleep duration was defined as <12 hours for children aged 4–11 months, <11 hours for children aged 1–2 years, <10 hours for children aged 3–5 years, <9 hours for children aged 6–12 years, and <8 hours for adolescents aged 13–17 years. The bedtime question for all ages was “How often does this child go to bed at about the same time on weeknights?”** Regular bedtime was defined as a response of “always.” The study included 99,842 persons aged 4 months–17 years†† with responses to the sleep duration question (48,748 in 2016, 21,124 in 2017, and 29,970 in 2018).

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