To Your Health
April, 2023 (Vol. 17, Issue 04)
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39 Minutes of Sleep

By Editorial Staff

Is your child getting enough sleep? A mere 39 minutes in one direction or the other can make a significant difference when it comes to multiple aspects of their health and wellness. New study findings in JAMA Network Open demonstrate why every parent should do their best to ensure their children get adequate sleep every night.

Researchers manipulated bedtimes for two weeks among 100 children ages 8-12, such that children went to bed one hour later than normal (sleep restriction) for one week and one hour earlier (sleep extension) for a second week. Wake times were not modified artificially. Parents of all children reported that their children had normal sleep times (8-11 hours per night) before the study started. Various parent and child questionnaires were utilized to assess the impact of sleep restriction / extension on child health, including sleep disturbances, daytime impairment and overall quality of life.

girl sleeping - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark During the sleep restriction week, total reduced nightly sleep time was 39 minutes compared with the sleep extension week. That missing 39 minutes resulted in significantly greater daytime impairment, including reductions in physical well-being, coping at school, and overall health-related quality of life variables.

Growing up healthy and happy can be challenging enough these days without complicating the process further. Quality sleep is essential, so ensure your children (and you) experience quality, adequate sleep as many nights as possible. Obviously from a time standpoint, it starts with setting a reasonable bedtime and ensuring it's followed (i.e., no phones in bedrooms overnight – that means you too, parents). For more tips on how to give kids the sleep environment they need, click here.