How much sleep do children really need?

How much sleep, and what type of sleep, do our children need to thrive?

In parenting, there aren’t often straightforward answers, and sleep tends to be contentious. There are questions about whether we are overstating children’s sleep problems. Yet we all know from experience how much better we feel, and how much more ready we are to take on the day, when we have had an adequate amount of good quality sleep.

I was one of a panel of experts at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine to review over 800 academic papers examining relationships between children’s sleep duration and outcomes. Our findings suggested optimal sleep durations to promote children’s health. These are the optimal hours (including naps) that children should sleep in every 24-hour cycle.