Addressing lack of sleep for NB children and youth is our opportunity to improve their health

The latest findings from the NBHC's five-year review of child and youth health in New Brunswick shows that encouraging adequate sleep can have a beneficial effect on four areas of youth health:

This document reports on multiyear trends regarding the health of New Brunswick children and youth. The report focuses on four priority areas:
improving mental health; achieving healthy weights; preventing injuries and achieving tobacco-free living. The report also highlights the importance of adequate sleep to improve all four priority areas and overall wellbeing. The final section provides some thoughts on future areas of action to help children and youth and improve our measuring and understanding of data. This report was released in December 2016.

  • Mental fitness
    (PNG, EPS)
  • Mental illness hospitalizations
    (PNG, EPS)
  • Bullying
    (PNG, EPS)
  • Obesity rates
    (PNG, EPS)
  • Non-nutritious food
    (PNG, EPS)
  • Premature deaths from injuries
    (PNG, EPS)
  • Impaired driving
    (PNG, EPS)
  • Asthma
    (PNG, EPS)
  • Susceptibility to smoking
    (PNG, EPS)
  • 8 hours of sleep (N.B.)
    (PNG, EPS)
  • 8 hours of sleep (districts)
    (PNG, EPS)
  • Improving mental health
  • Achieving healthy weights
  • Preventing injuries
  • Achieving tobacco-free living

“Fewer than four New Brunswick youth in 10 get eight or more hours of sleep per night,” said Stéphane Robichaud, the CEO of the NBHC. ”Our research indicates that supporting children and youth to achieve adequate sleep has a beneficial effect on these four priority areas, and a sleep deficit tends to make them worse. Encouraging adequate sleep for children and youth is something everyone can do to help.”

While eight hours of sleep is the minimum recommendation for youth and adult sleep, national guidelines suggest even more sleep for children and youth. Children from 5 to 13 years old should have 9 to 11 hours of sleep, and youth 14 to 17 should sleep eight to 10 hours per night. Recreational use of devices with screens before bedtime has been shown to delay sleep.

The research followed key indicators for these priority areas for periods of up to five years. These trends indicate that New Brunswick children and youth are making modest improvements in these four areas, but that efforts by parents, schools and governments should continue to promote increased health and well-being among youth.

“While we are showing slight improvement overall, efforts are needed to sustain the gradual improvement achieved as well as to address the variability observed of these indicators across different demographic groups and geographic regions of the province” said Robichaud. “I encourage everyone who works with youth to review this research and discover where to target your efforts.”

An infographic on the urgency of the sleep deficit in New Brunswick, as well as the full research report with indicators measuring the four priority areas is available from the Council’s website,

The NBHC has been established as an independent organization that measures, monitors and evaluates New Brunswick’s health system performance through a citizen-centered dual mandate of performance measurement and citizen engagement.


New Brunswick Health Council: Frank Vandenburg, 506-869-6728,


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