Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sleep Around the World: What about Children?

As the Sleep Education Blog reported, the OECD recently compared the sleep times of people in 18 countries. It found that people in Korea and Japan get the least sleep; people in the U.S. have the second-highest daily sleep time. The U.S. time use survey involved people who were 15 years of age and older.

But what about children? Are there differences around the world in how long children normally sleep?

A study abstract
presented last June at SLEEP 2008 provided some insights. It focused on 17 countries that were primarily Asian or Caucasian.

The study involved parents of more than 21,000 infants and toddlers; the age range of the children was from newborn to three years of age. The parents completed a questionnaire about their child’s sleep.

The study found a pattern that is similar to the OECD report. Results suggest that young children in Asian countries get less sleep each day than young children in Caucasian countries. Asian children also have later bedtimes. There were no differences in night wakings or napping behaviors.

Hong Kong children are up the latest with an average bedtime of 10:10 p.m. Children in Indonesia, Taiwan and Korea also go to bed after 10 p.m. Children in New Zealand go to bed the earliest; their average bedtime is 7:16 p.m. Children in Australia and the U.K. also go to bed before 8 p.m. U.S. children have the seventh-earliest bedtime of 8:52 p.m.

An early bedtime helps New Zealand children get the most sleep; they sleep for an average of 13.3 hours per day. This total combines nightly sleep and daytime naps. Children in Australia and the U.K. also get more than 13 hours of daily sleep. U.S. children rank fifth with an average of 12.9 hours of total sleep time per day. Japanese children have the lowest total sleep time of 11.6 hours per day. Children in Indonesia and Korea also get less than 12 hours of sleep per day.

reports that newborns up to three months of age need about 16 to 20 hours of total sleep time per day. Infants between three months and 12 months of age need about 14 to 15 hours of sleep per day. Toddlers between the ages of one year and four years need about 12 to 14 hours of total sleep time.
Image by Fui

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