News from the FDA/CDC

One in three children fall short of sleep recommendations



Just over one-third of children in the United States get less sleep than recommended, with higher rates occurring among several racial/ethnic and socioeconomic groups, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Prevalence of short sleep duration by age, race/ethnicity

Among children aged 4 months to 17 years, 34.9% got less than the recommended amount of sleep for their age and just 33.9% had a regular bedtime, Anne G. Wheaton, PhD, and Angelika H. Claussen, PhD, said in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Unlike previous reports, this analysis showed that adolescents were less likely than infants to have short sleep duration, 31.2% vs. 40.3%. These latest data are based on the 2016-2018 editions of the National Survey of Children’s Health, and the “difference might be explained by NSCH’s reliance on parent report rather than self-report with Youth Risk Behavior Surveys,” they suggested.

Black children had the highest prevalence of any group included in the study, as parents reported that 50.8% of all ages were not getting the recommended amount of sleep, compared with 39.1% among Hispanics, 34.6% for other races, and 28.8% for Whites. The figure for Black infants was 64.2%, almost double the prevalence for White infants (32.9%), said Dr. Wheaton and Dr. Claussen of the CDC.

Short sleep duration also was more common in children from lower-income families and among those with less educated parents. Geography had an effect as well, with prevalence “highest in the Southeast, similar to geographic variation in adequate sleep observed for adults,” they noted.

Previous research has shown that “sleep disparity was associated with various social determinants of health (e.g., poverty, food insecurity, and perceived racism), which can increase chronic and acute stress and result in environmental and psychological factors that negatively affect sleep duration and can compound long-term health risks,” the investigators wrote.

Short sleep duration by age group was defined as less the following amounts: Twelve hours for infants (4-11 months), 11 hours for children aged 1-2 years, 10 hours for children aged 3-5 years, 9 hours for children aged 6-12, and 8 hours for adolescents (13-17 years), they explained. Responses for the survey’s sleep-duration question totaled 99,842 for the 3 years included.

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