The American Academy of Sleep Medicine, with the help of a board of professionals, has launched its first ever formal guidelines for how much shut-eye kids need.

UBC sleep specialist and nursing lecturer Wendy Area, the only Canadian on the 13-member board, says guidelines are important because insufficient sleep is a growing trend.

“Most parents and care providers don’t really know how much sleep children should be getting,” she said in a news launch. Few people are educated about sleep, she included.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended the new childhood rest guidelines, which were released Monday in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

They are the same to ones from the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS), says society member Dr. Tracey Bridger. She says individuals do not take sleep as seriously as they should, and that a good nights sleep is as essential as what you eat and whether you work out.

Those recommendations “will balance suggestions for physical exercising, inactive behavior, and sleep, and will signify the first time these behaviors are integrated as a individual suggestions,” according to its website.

“Sleep is completely important to physical growth as well as development, intellectual and psychological growth,” says Dr. Hilary Myron, a pediatric sleep specialist at the Children’s Medical center of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa. “It’s definitely crucial.”

For people of all ages, the right amount of sleep improves attention, behavior, memory, and overall mental and health. Neglecting to get enough sleep has serious consequences: it is associated with an increase in injuries, high blood pressure, being overweight and depressive disorders.

So what can parents do to prevent sleep-deprived and irritable children? “It’s having a consistent sleep schedule, seven days a week, with a reliable sleep time and awaken time,” Myron informed CBC News. “And removing screens from their kid’s bed room.” Which indicates, no iPads, iPhones or TV.

If parents are concerned their children are getting too little or too much sleep, Myron says they should seek advice from their physician.