Children's sleep needs: is there sufficient evidence to recommend optimal sleep for children?

Sleep. 2013 Apr 1;36(4):527-34. doi: 10.5665/sleep.2538.


It is widely recognized that sleep is important for children's health and well-being and that short sleep duration is associated with a wide range of negative health outcomes. Recently, there has been much interest in whether or not there are sufficient data to support the specific recommendations made for how much sleep children need. In this article we explore concepts related to children's sleep need, discuss the theory, rationale, and empirical evidence for contemporary sleep recommendations, and outline future research directions for sleep recommendations. If sleep is to be treated as a therapeutic intervention, then consensus guidelines, statements, and evidence-based best-practice documents are needed to underpin sleep recommendations for children.

Keywords: Adolescents; children; need; recommendations; sleep.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Welfare*
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic / standards*
  • Sleep*
  • Time