Sleep requirements can vary from child to child
It's important for parents to realize that these standards are not written in stone. When it comes to sleep guidelines for kids, most recommendations "are guesses, generally based on loose observations and opinions," says Lisa Ann Matricciani, co-author of a child sleep study published in the February 2012 Pediatrics. (Healy, 2012) From 1987 to 2009, children's daily sleep decreased by about 75 minutes while the recommendation for how much sleep kids should get also declined by 70 minutes. "Experts have always recommended that children get about 40 minutes more sleep than they do, no matter how much sleep they get," says researcher Timothy Olds, a professor of health sciences.
In addition, there will be some variation in what's proper from one child to another. So don't panic if your child seems to be on the low end of the sleep spectrum but otherwise appears healthy and well-rested. Worry about them getting the sleep their body is signaling for, not any particular number.