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VERIFY: How Much Sleep Do School-Age Children Really Need?

How much sleep do children need to be productive at school?


Back to school means back to an early bedtime. How much sleep should school-age children be getting to perform well in school? Why do many children insist they're not tired, when parents know they are fighting to keep their eye lids open?


To VERIFY, we consulted the National Sleep Foundation. It emphasizes first what parents and caretakers already know -- children need significantly more sleep than adults to support growth and development.


The National Sleep Foundation emphasizes children can experience negative side effects from missing as little as 30 to 60 minutes of recommended sleep. It is difficult to know if children are not getting enough sleep, because instead of slowing down, like adults, they get wound up. Sometimes sleepiness in children can resemble ADHD.

So, what is the recommended amount of sleep for productivity in school-age children?

The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following:

  • Pre-School (ages 3-5): 10-13 hours
  • Elementary and Middle School (ages 6-13): 9-11 hours
  • High School (ages 14-17): 8-10 hours
  • College: 7-9 hours


Children need more sleep than adults, and missing even 30 minutes of recommended sleep can negatively affect a child's productivity. That said, quality of sleep is just as important as quantity. Research shows a soothing pre-bed activity can help children get the deep REM sleep they need.

VERIFY inquiry? Contact Meghann Mollerus at mmollerus@wfmy.com or write on her Facebook timeline at Meghann Mollerus News.


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