Are children and adolescents getting enough sleep?

Content type
Commissioned report

December 2019


Tracy Evans-Whipp, Constantine Gasser

Commissioning Body

Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children


This chapter provides a comprehensive picture of children's and adolescents' sleep patterns in Australia today. Using the LSAC data collected between 2010 and 2016 from the B and K cohorts, the chapter describes the times that children and adolescents went to bed and woke up, and the amount and quality of their sleep as they grew. The characteristics of adolescents who do not get enough sleep, including whether they thought they got enough sleep, are also described.

Key messages

  • On school days, nearly all 6-7 year olds were getting the required minimum hours of sleep, but only half (50%) of 16-17 year olds were.

  • Children aged 12-17 years were less likely to get the required minimum hours of sleep on school nights compared to non-school nights.

  • Around four in five children thought they were getting enough sleep, when they were in fact not meeting minimum sleep guidelines for their age.

  • Children not meeting minimum sleep guidelines were more likely to:

    • show symptoms of poor mental health (anxiety, depression, unhappiness)
    • be late for or absent from school
    • spend more time on homework
    • have internet access in the bedroom or spend more time on the internet.
  • 12-13 year olds who participated in sport and/or had regular bedtimes were more likely to meet minimum sleep guidelines for their age.