How Much Sleep Do Children Need?

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In order to maintain consistent and rapid physical and mental development, children need much more sleep than adults. This is a fact most of us are familiar with, but the question is, how many hours of sleep do kids need, how much time is precisely necessary for them to spend in a realm of dreams, and what happens if they don’t meet that norm?

The problem is, you may not know that they are sleepy and ready to go to bed, because the tiredness in children can be manifest as an attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder. Instead of slowing down and becoming more passive, overtired kids often become hype and extremely active.

Also, there is a case of recommended sleep by age. It’s not the same if we are talking about a three months old baby, a two-year-old kid, or preschoolers and teenagers. Different amounts of sleep are suggested for all those different phases they go through. So if you don’t want your child to be sleep-deprived, which has so many consequences on their development and everyday life, and you wonder how much sleep do kids need, go through the list below.

Sleep Requirements by Age

wheel of recommended sleep hours from 0 months old to 65 years old

Newborns – from 0 to 4 months

There will be a lot of challenges in front of you if you just delivered your child into this world. One of those will be how to put a baby to sleep, and how to keep her that way. Newly born babies usually sleep between 14 and 17 hours a day, in short intervals that last from one to four hours. If, however, we are talking about prematurely born children, you should know that they can sleep even longer. But, you should check with your pediatrician if the little one is sleeping for more than 19 hours. Given that just a couple of months old babies don’t yet have circadian rhythm or internal biological clock, they don’t have sleeping patterns based on daytime and nighttime cycles like we do.

Infants – from 4 to 12 months

From when they are seven months old up until they get to celebrate their first birthday, little ones should spend on their crib mattress between 12 and 15 hours every day. That’s necessary for the natural development of a child in this stage, so you need to make sure to establish a good sleeping pattern for them. Infants usually have at first three, and then two naps during the day. Around the time they are six or seven months old, they should be able to get through the night without waking up.

Toddlers – from 1 to 3 years

Now, in this stage, your children should sleep between 11 and 14 hours, but it’s more likely they will get the ten tops. Before noon naps, as well as those in the late evening, will stay in the past, and the kids will probably have just one in the middle of the day. That’s because they are very social in this phase and don’t want to miss anything. But if you get a good mattress for children, there’s a chance you can prolong their sleep time.

Preschoolers – from 3 to 6 years

Children in this life period usually go to bed around nine o’clock and wake up after 10, 11 hours. That’s normal and perfectly good. It’s even recommended for them to sleep a bit longer, up to 13 hours, but it’s fine if they don’t. Of course, the gap between three and six years is huge, so those little ones who are the youngest will still have nap times, while most of the five-year-olds probably won’t.

School-aged children – from 7 to 14 years

In today’s world, children who go to elementary school have a lot of extracurricular activities and therefore tend to go to bed quite late. That means they usually have less sleep than necessary. The recommended amount is nine to 11 hours, but when they are 13 or 14, it’s okay if they sleep for seven to eight. Just make sure not to let them spend more than 12 hours in bed. They will become lazy that way, and their preferable daily routine will be all messed up.

Teenagers – from 14 to 17 years

Teenagers are very tough to deal with, and thanks to their belligerence and the attitude most of them tend to have in this period, it is very hard to make them follow any kind of rules. When it comes to a sleep schedule, they probably won’t pay attention to it, and because of the social pressure, they will sleep less or more than they truly need to. The preferable amount is nine to 10 hours so that their health and well being stay on top. But most of them won’t get this target continuously.

baby girl sleeping peacefully on the mattress

FAQ

What time should kids go to bed?

Children that are two and three years old should already be sleeping at eight or nine o’clock. But, they will still need one nap a day that can last from one to three and a half hours. This bedtime should stay the same up until they start going to school when it’s okay for that frame to move for one to two hours up.

Why do teenagers stay up late?

Experts say that their brain works in a different way and different schedule then ours, so they won’t be ready for bed at the time we believe is appropriate. During this period of life, the circadian rhythm of our body, including our internal biological clock, will reset and set differently. That’s why teenagers will experience the need to go to bed later at night and to sleep longer in the morning.

Conclusion

There are a lot of things that can go wrong if we don’t spend enough time sleeping. And that’s especially important for children who are in the process of development – both physically and mentally. Some research shows that kids who are sleep deprived have bigger chances of becoming overweight or developing diabetes. Also, there is the matter of learning abilities and attention issues that will become a challenge if the little ones don’t get the right amount of sleep each night.

Although we are aware of its importance, in everyday life, we do not put sleep in the same category as nutrition or exercise, and it should be there, just next to these crucial aspects. And yes, we know kids can be so annoying and persistent when they beg you to let them stay awake just a little bit more, but don’t forget that you will not do them a favor if you budge, but contrary, your lack of determination will do them only harm.

Sources

https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Understanding-Sleep
https://jamesclear.com/sleep

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