(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Photo: Sean Gallup
Photo: Sean Gallup

Sleep experts reveal new recommendations for children

Children need more sleep than adults to be healthy and happy. And now, there are new guidelines for just how many zzz's they need to catch.

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"Decreased sleep can lead to hypertension, which is high blood pressure. We know it can lead to obesity. In teens, it can lead to depression," said Dr. Corinn Cross, a spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The 13 experts who put together the guidelines also say sleep affects attention, behavior, learning and memory.

The recommendations were developed by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The group suggests infants between 4 to 12 months old get at least 12 hours of sleep; children 1 and 2 years old get at least 11 hours; 3- to 5-year-olds get at least 10; 6- to 12-year-olds get at least nine; and teens between 13 and 18 get at least eight.

The group says regularly timing uninterrupted sleep is important to get the benefits.

Experts recommend keeping smartphones and other electronics out of the bedroom because light from those devices stimulates wakefulness and doesn't let kids unwind.

Researchers also suggest keeping bedtimes consistent during weekdays, weekends and summer vacations because it's often hard for kids to quickly adjust to new schedules.

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