Dr. Hilary Myron, a pediatric sleep specialist at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa says that the new sleep guidelines are "absolutely critical" to health in young people.
"Sleep is absolutely integral to physical growth as well as development, cognitive and emotional development."
Dr. Stuart F. Chan of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, helped write the new American Academy of Sleep Medicine guidelines and said that sleeping problems are directly related to poor grades in children.
"Sleep apnea is associated with poor school performance, mood and behavior problems, misdiagnosis of ADHD and, if severe, potentially heart problems," he said.
Despite the pros and cons of having a good night's sleep, it is estimated that at least a quarter of all 12-year-olds get less than the recommended nine hours of sleep per night and the statistics get worse with age.
The amount of people suffering with insomnia and the young age that the health issue is starting is alarming, says Chan. Insomnia affects one in three preschoolers and one in four adolescents.
"[Insomnia is associated with] poor school performance, increased mood and health problems and risk of self-harm and suicidal ideation," said Chan.
The biggest way to solve the sleep problem and follow the new guidelines is to make sure you and your children are getting to bed early enough and that there is no stimulation. Light emitting devices such as iPads, iPhones, and televisions should all be kept outside of the sleeping space.
"Frequently, a child or teen will not go to bed early enough or they are awakened too early. The reasons for this are varied, but revolve around family dynamics, social issues and, in the case of teens, school start times," said Chan.