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How Much Sleep Do Kids Need?

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Sleep plays a significant role in the growth and development of a newborn baby. During the early stages of life, an infant’s body undergoes development that affects the brain, body, creativity, memory formation, emotions, thoughts, and overall behavior. Proper growth and development also set a tone for their continuous growth during childhood and teenage. 

Perhaps, the most challenging part of parenting is understanding the sleep requirements of your kid. In this blog, you will understand how much sleep do kids need, their sleeping patterns, and much more.

Recommended Sleep by Age

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends total daily sleep needs according to age. The sleep chart by age below shows the recommended hours of sleep for each age group of children.

Table of recommended amount of sleep needed for each age group. Illustration

The recommended hours of sleep are the total hours, including at night and during the naps. However, according to the NSF experts, these are approximate recommendations and may vary from one child to another. Parents can keep these guidelines in mind as a target and decide a healthy amount of sleep for their children as per their needs.

The sleep requirements of children evolve as the child gets older. Various factors influence the amount of sleep a particular child requires, and knowing these details can help parents get a healthy amount of sleep for their kids.

How Much Sleep Do Babies Need?

Typically, kids spend most of their time sleeping. The age specifies the sleep time of babies.

Newborns (0-3 months old)

According to NSF, newborn babies sleep for 14-16 hours every day; this sleep usually lasts in small sessions primarily because of feeding the newborns.

The fact that newborn babies wake you up throughout the night is a common phenomenon. Parents usually prepare a rough schedule for newborn babies, including feeding sessions, nighttime sleep, and daytime naps.

As a parent, you need to understand that there may be fluctuation in the sleep schedules of newborn babies, and these do not indicate a sleeping problem. Owing to this reason, the American Association of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have not specified any recommended bedtime for babies aged below four months.

Infants (4-11 months old)

According to NSF, infants aged 4-11 months sleep between 12-15 hours every day. Generally, infants sleep 3-4 hours during the daytime. The American Association of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also recommend 12-16 hours of sleep for infants (4-11 months old).

Want to know what’s the best bedtime for your child? Calculate using this unique kids’ bedtime calculator.

What is Sleep Regression in Babies?

Imagine your baby is sleeping the whole night, napping for longer times, for months very peacefully, suddenly begins to:

  • Wake up at night
  • Takes shorter naps
  • Skip naps for no reason

This period of about 3 – 6 weeks, where a baby shows unusual behaviors, is known as sleep regression.

Parents are caught off guard in this situation where you think you know everything about your baby’s sleep challenges, but then suddenly, you see frequent nonexistent naps and night wakings.

Your toddlers’ sleep schedule may change at times. Your kids, who once used to sleep sound and calm, might now start to awake and find it difficult to sleep throughout the night. 

Why Do Babies Sleep So Much?

Since babies are in a stage of growth, they spend almost half of their time in sleep. Sleep allows a baby to develop physically, mentally, acquire better skills, build networks, develop creative learning, and improve thinking.

When Do Babies Start Sleeping Through the Night?

If you are a parent, you might have certainly experienced interruptions during the night because of your toddler. Newborns and infants hardly sleep throughout the night without interruptions.

Babies start sleeping at night at around six months of age. At this point, it is more likely for them to sleep throughout the night. However, according to research, many 6-12 months old babies did not sleep continuously for 6-8 hours. The study also reveals that even if infants do not sleep for longer consecutive periods, there are no impacts on a child’s physical or mental development. 

Parents should prioritize their kids’ total daily sleep time and not worry about the longer consecutive sleep at night. However, parents can encourage a longer sleep at night, and parents must discuss any issues about consistent nighttime disruptions with the doctor.

How Much Sleep Is Needed for Premature Babies?

Premature babies spend about 90% of their time sleeping. The exact amount of sleep that premature babies required depends on their health condition and how premature they were born. 

During the first 12 months, the sleep schedule of preterm babies resembles the full-term infants, but their sleep is less consistent than the full-time infant.

What to Do if Your Baby Is Not Getting Enough Sleep?

Parents should keep a note of their child’s sleeping patterns. It helps the doctor to determine whether your baby has a typical sleeping pattern or a potential sleeping problem. 

Parents should induce behavioral changes such as reducing the speed of response to awakening and pushing the sleeping schedules of babies struggling with longer sleep.

Parents can also create a proper sleep schedule, improve sleep hygiene, and create a calm environment for sleep. Let us understand how much sleep do kids need by age in the section below.

How Much Sleep Do Kids Need?

Similar to others, sleep is the most critical part for babies as well. It leads to their overall mental and physical development.

With age, a kids’ sleeping time changes drastically. As they grow from toddlers to teenagers, their sleep becomes similar to adults. 

Toddlers (1-2 Years Old)

Toddlers should get 12-14 hours of sleep every day. Toddlers take at least two naps per day for around 1-2 hours of daily sleep. Some old toddlers take only one afternoon nap

Pre-schooler (3-5 Years Old)

The NSF advises pre-school children aged 3-5 years to get about 10-13 hours of sleep daily. The nap length of pre-schoolers and some pre-schoolers may even stop naping.

School Age (6-13 Years Old)

School-going children should get about 9-11 hours of sleep every day. The school-age involve a broader set of ages, and hence the amount of sleep may vary from one child to another. Younger school-going children need more sleep than middle school or high school children.

When children in school-age years enter adolescence, their sleeping patterns change drastically and lead to sleep challenges. 

Is It Normal for Kids to Nap?

It is normal for kids to take naps when they are infants, toddlers, and preschool-aged. Napping provides the benefits of memory, creative thinking, and learnings to these children. 

With growing age, napping moves out of children’s daily routine by becoming shorter and less frequent. The main reason for these is the schedules of school, coaching, and child care.

Most of the children stop napping around age five. However, nap preferences can be different for every kid. According to a study, 42.5% of children do not sleep or fall asleep only sometimes during the scheduled nap time in pre-schools.

According to a study in China, children in grades 4-6 who took naps daily after lunch showed improved behavior, academic achievement, mental health, and overall happiness.

The research about napping is still inconclusive, and it is safe to say that what works best for one child may not be ideal for others. Hence, parents, teachers, and child care workers should induce optimal sleeping in kids by being flexible and allowing naps.

What to Do if Your Kid Is Not Getting Enough Sleep?

According to the National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information, 25% of young children deal with sleeping disorders or daytime sleepiness.

These sleeping issues can also affect other teens and children as well. If children are face sleeping issues, parents should discuss sleep with their kids and raise it with their doctor. 

You can induce sleep in your child by creating a playful, calm, sleepy, and comfortable bedroom environment. You can also minimize the distraction of your kid from TV and other electronic devices. Getting an appropriate mattress also helps your kid to get consistent sleep.

Building healthy sleep habits, following a stable sleep routine, and bedtime rituals can improve the overall sleep cycle of your kid. Give your child the freedom to exhaust all his energy during the daytime so that your kid can unwind and fall asleep easily during the night.

Check out our article on how to help kids fall asleep fast to learn some valuable tips to make your toddler sleep faster.

The Final Word

Sleep plays an integral role in the overall development and growth of your little munchkin. Knowing your baby’s sleep challenges is a starting step in determining their sleep requirements. Hopefully, the guide above might have helped you understand the insights on how much sleep your kid needs. Follow our tips and you can enjoy waking your child up with smiles every day.

FAQs

As per the thumb rule, if children wake up at 6:30 a.m., they should be off to bed at around 8:45 p.m. If they wake up at 7:30 a.m., then they should get into bed at around 9:45 p.m.

Although there is no conclusive evidence, research shows that feeding babies before bed has no impact on the quality of sleep for babies.

The recommended hours of sleep for teens are as follows:

6–12 years

9 to 12 hours 

13–18 years

8 to 10 hours 

A two-year-old should go to bed between 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. because they sleep the deepest between 8 p.m. to 12 p.m.

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Sleep trainer working in New York City in a voluntary orthopaedic practise. Also an independent medical writer and designer.
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Meet Our Review Board

Each week our team researches, writes and collaborates with industry leaders to bring you simple easy-to-read sleep information.

David Bridge

Sleep Coach

Siddhesh Tiwatne

Sleep Coach

Authored by healh experts and journalists

Fact checked and science-backed

Medically reviewed by physicians

Meet Our Review Board

Each week our team researches, writes and collaborates with industry leaders to bring you simple easy-to-read sleep information.

David Bridge

Sleep Coach

Siddhesh Tiwatne

Sleep Coach

Authored by health experts and journalists

Fact checked and science-backed

Medically reviewed by physicians

Meet Our Review Board

Each week our team researches, writes and collaborates with industry leaders to bring you simple easy-to-read sleep information.

David Bridge

Sleep Coach

Siddhesh Tiwatne

Sleep Coach

Authored by health experts and journalists

Fact checked and science-backed

Medically reviewed by physicians

Meet Our Review Board

Each week our team researches, writes and collaborates with industry leaders to bring you simple easy-to-read sleep information.

David Bridge

Sleep Coach

Siddhesh Tiwatne

Sleep Coach

Authored by health experts and journalists

Fact checked and science-backed

Medically reviewed by physicians