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100 Years Of Children’s Sleep Guidelines … All Wrong

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(credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images)

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Written by Dr. Dave Hnida CBS4 Medical EditorYou’ve been lectured over and over: your child isn’t getting enough sleep. At least according to the latest guidelines.

But guess what? You didn’t get enough sleep as a child. Neither did your mom when she was a child. And the same goes for her mom. And then, her mom.

That’s right. Don’t even think about blaming video games and the Internet. Blame it on the Edison and the light bulb. And that new fangled contraption called a radio. More than 100 years of sleep recommendations haven’t been followed — and the latest (at the time) technology gets whacked with the blame.

Researchers in the Journal Pediatrics looked at official sleep guidelines from 1897 to 2009, and found that the majority of kids didn’t come close to hitting the sack at whatever the guidelines had to say was the right time for bedtime.

The average bed avoidance time? 37 minutes. And it doesn’t matter if you look at 1897, 1907, 1923, 1935, 2001 etc, etc. The average kid stayed up 37 minutes later than what the nation’s pediatricians said beddie-bye time was that year.

So what’s the deal? The truth of the matter is we really don’t know how much sleep a child really needs. We can guess, but there hasn’t been one conclusive solid bit of research laying out the numbers over all these decades.

So when we say “Time for bed when the big hand reaches the: (insert number)” we are really just winging it.

Any solutions? Sure, if your kid suffers from a lot of daytime crankiness, he or she may be sleep deprived. Then again, they may just be acting like a normal kid.

Whatever you do, don’t let them see this research and let them know we’ve been making this stuff up all these years.

Sorry.

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