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How Much Sleep Do Babies and Children Need?

December 29, 2021 4:04 pm

Just as we can get cranky and not respond up to par without sufficient sleep, babies and children react the same way. The National Sleep Foundation has set some guidelines for parents. Of course, a child can vary from the recommendations a little and still be getting healthy sleep. Exactly how much sleep do babies and children need? We will provide you with some guidelines.

Parents of Newborns

A newborn who is up to 3 months old should get approximately 14 -17 hours of sleep each day.

An infant who is 4 – 11 months old should sleep 12 – 15 hours daily.

All these recommended infant times include naps. Babies spend the majority of their time sleeping because it allows their brains to develop properly.

Premature babies need a bit more sleep than full-term infants. After the first 12 months, their sleep patterns will become more in balance with full-term babies. However, during the first year they often have more total sleep, lighter sleep, but are less consistent in their sleep patterns.

little boy sleeping in bed

Toddlers

Children ages 1 to 2 should get 11 – 14 hours of sleep each day. Two naps are recommended by some professionals for toddlers. This is a good time to begin working on bedtime routines like dimming the lights as the initial “it’s sleep time” sign and reading them a story.

Preschool Children

Young children 3 to 5 years old should be getting 10 -13 hours of sleep per day. Naps are optional at this age.

School-Age Children

Those who are ages 6 to 13 should be getting 9 – 11 hours sleep daily. Don’t think your child can get by with less sleep. They need regular bedtimes and routines. Less sleep than required can lead to both behavior and health problems. Watch out for irritability, concentration issues, headaches, obesity, and even depression.

Teens

Teenagers between 13 to 18 should get 8 – 10 hours sleep each day. Monitor screen time and turn off all devices one hour before bedtime.

Are YOUR Children Getting Enough Sleep?

Here are some questions to ask yourself.

  • Do I need to wake up my child several times in the morning before they get out of bed?
  • Do they complain of being tired?
  • Does your child need to “catch up” on sleep during the weekend?

Their mood and behavior might improve with more sleep. Children who get sufficient sleep have a healthier immune system, better school performance, behavior, memory, and mental health. Don’t underestimate the need for sufficient sleep in children.

Contact The Pediatric and Adolescent Sleep Center at (703) 226-2290 if you think your child is having sleep issues or if you have additional questions.

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