A century's worth of expert advice and sleep studies has been
compiled by researchers and distilled into a report that has found
there has been a lack of sleep all along.
Experts were worried about children's sleep patterns as far back
at the late 1800's, according to the brief report in the journal
Pediatrics, and the Australian researchers believe this could have
extended even further back. Lisa Anne Matricciani of the University
of South Australia in Adelaide and colleagues said: "No matter how
much sleep children are getting, it has always been assumed that
they need more."
Matricciani and company believe the reason why sleep standards are
slipping is because there is a lack of science on which to base
recommendations. Of the sleep advice sets analysed, there was only
one which provided any reasoning for its guidance.
David Gozal, an expert in childhood sleep problems at the
University of Chicago told Reuters Health: "We need to do due
diligence and do the nitty-gritty effort of measuring sleep in a
large group of the population to find out what's normal.
"That has never been done."
Sleep recommendations have been shifting downward over time,
according to Gozal, which could be a reflection of demanding
contemporary lifestyles. Currently, the recommended amount of sleep
is between eight and eight and a half hours for adults, 16 to 18
hours for newborns and 11 to 12 hours for infants, according to the
National Institute of Health in America.
Based on 218 articles that contained self- or parent-reported
sleep for children, the Australian researchers estimate that kids' actual sleep duration fell by 73
minutes over a century. Adults are also getting less shut eye owing
to the 24-7 global culture.
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Posted by Michael Ewing