Daily Mail (UK) 13 Feb 2012
Despite long-maintained claims that teenagers require more rest, there has always been a lingering suspicion among parents that yougsters are wasting their time by spending half their day in bed. Now, according to new research, mothers and fathers may indeed be right after scientists suggested the optimum amount of sleep for a typical 16-year-old is just seven hours a night. Current health recommendations advise teens get nine or more hours
But this could be two hours too much and – crucially – may lead to poorer exam results. Scientists from Brigham Young University in Utah examined 1,724 primary and secondary pupils’ performances and compared them with the amount of sleep they got. Reporting the findings in the Eastern Economics Journal, they said the right amount of sleep decreases with age. The optimum amount of sleep in nine to 9.5 hours, for 12-year-olds it is eight or 8.5 hours and for 16-year-olds it is seven hours. Study author Eric Eide said: ‘We’re not talking about sleep deprivation. The data simply says that seven hours is optimal at that age.’
HOW MUCH SLEEP IS OK?
Most studies suggest teenagers need at least nine hours sleep. And previous studies suggest that children between age seven and 12 need 11 hours in bed.
But, according to this latest research by Brigham Young University, the right amount – in terms of testing best in exams – is as follows:
Aged 10: nine to 9.5 hours
Aged 12: Eight to 8.5 hours
Aged 16: Seven hours
Nevertheless, sleep studies have recorded a variety of results with differing optimal amounts, so you may want to see for yourself which suits your child or teenager best.