A study published this week in the journal Pediatrics, which we reported here yesterday, says that sleep experts don't have scientific evidence to back up current sleep recommendations for kids.
But since the study appeared, some sleep experts have spoken up to say they disagree strongly with those findings.
Judith Owens, a pediatrician at Children's National Medical Center in Washington and author of Take Charge of Your Child's Sleep: The All-in-One Resource for Solving Sleep Problems in Kids and Teens, told NPR's Shots blog yesterday that current sleep recommendations are indeed research-based. Owens believes that the researchers behind the Pediatrics article "left out multiple studies. It ends up looking like they picked and chose studies that suited their agenda."
For example, she says, there's "very solid data showing that teenagers need about 9 hours of sleep a night." Other studies show that kids' thinking and behavior improve when they get extended sleep.
Which sleep advice should parents follow? Owens says she trusts the sleep recommendations from the National Sleep Foundation, which you can find here. The foundation says children ages 5 to 12 need 10 to 11 hours of sleep a night, and teenagers need 9 to 10 hours. Here's more from Owens from the NPR blog:
"We always [say] that there are clues to make sure that your child is getting enough sleep. For instance: Your child wakes up spontaneously at the time they're supposed to wake up. They're alert in the morning.
Granted, there are things we don't know. But this is information that I think we can confidently pass on to parents."
Image: Sleepy boy waking up via Shutterstock.