Study finds little change in children’s sleep over time

Australian researchers conducted a historical review, showing recommended sleep requirements have been consistently around 37 minutes greater than actual sleep in children over the past century.

No matter how much sleep children are getting, it has always been assumed that they need more.

The systematic literature review of 32 sets of recommendations for children’s sleep requirements and data reporting of children’s actual sleep time covered the period from 1897 to 2009.

While it is true that children’s total sleep time has been declining over time, the amount is slight: on average, age-specific recommended sleep decreased at a rate of -0.71 minute per year, and actual sleep duration declined at almost the same rate, or -0.73 minute per year.

Recommended sleep times had declined by about 70 minutes over the span of the 20th century.

Insufficient sleep has been associated with physical and psychosocial health