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Natural Awakenings

Kids Are Not Getting Enough Sleep

Kid sitting at counter looking sleepy, rubbing eye with back of hand with straw in glass of orange juice in mouth

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The American Academy of Pediatrics has long recommended that children between the ages of 6 and 12 years obtain nine to 12 hours of sleep per night for optimal health, yet kids are regularly getting less than this recommended amount. In a recent study published in The Lancet, researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine investigated how insufficient sleep affects children’s behavioral problems, mental health, cognition, brain function and brain structure over a period of two years. They concluded that children that get less than nine hours of sleep per night have notable differences in brain regions that influence memory, intelligence and well-being compared to those that get more than nine hours. As kids’ schedules get busier and they spend more time in front of screens, their average sleep time has decreased. According to the researchers, such insufficiencies in early adolescence can lead to long-lasting neurocognitive consequences.

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