How Much Sleep Children Actually Need

March 16, 2021

If you have ever heard the phrase, “sleeps like a baby” and agreed, you probably have not ever had a baby! Children don’t always sleep soundly (or let their parents sleep through the night), which can sometimes be worrisome. Sleep is undoubtedly important for everyone, and especially for growing children. When it comes to children, how important is sleep, and what are the recommended amounts?

There is a lot of anecdotal evidence you could compile from friends, family members, and even your own child, but here’s what experts have to say about why is sleep so important for children, and how many hours a night should your child be sleeping for their age.

The Difference in Well-Rested Children

Regular, restful sleep is important for not only your child’s mental well-being but for their physical well-being as well. Children who get high-quality, regular sleep are calmer, more creative, get along better with their peers and adults, and are less likely to exhibit problematic behaviors across the board. As an adult, you know how not getting a restful night’s sleep can impact your performance, mood, and a general sense of well-being the next day, and kids are no different!

Well-rested kids perform better in school, have more energy, and can pay attention for longer periods of time. They experience less moodiness and irritability, and exhibit more motivation and capacity for problem-solving and learning new information. They are also less likely to suffer from allergy symptoms, enjoy a healthier immune system, and are less likely to suffer from obesity, depression, hypertension, and anxiety later on in life. Good sleep is linked to reduced rates of substance abuse and car accidents in adolescence, rounding out our long list of sleep benefits.

Additionally, having a routine is important to a child’s sense of well-being and behavior, and by setting a healthy sleeping routine now, you can equip your child with life skills that will pay dividends for the rest of their life.

Sleep is important, and so is the right amount of sleep to ensure they are able to capture all the great benefits of a good night’s rest.

How Many Hours of Sleep Does My Child Need?

The answer is simple: it depends. It depends on the age of your child, their activity level during the day, and their individual needs.

Babies will need more hours of sleep than older children, and young adults will need less than teenagers.

But here are some general guidelines to keep in mind, from the National Sleep Foundation

  • Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours
  • Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours
  • Toddler (1-2 years): 11-14 hours
  • Pre-School (3-5 years): 10-13 hours
  • School-Age (6-13 years): 9-11 hours
  • Teenager (14-17 years): 8-10 hours
  • Young-Adult (18-25): 7-9 hours

Keeping this in mind as a guide, you will be able to observe and take note of your child’s behavior and energy levels during the day, and adjust accordingly. Some children may flourish with a little bit more, while some may need just a little less.

Starting tonight with a good routine, and then sticking to that routine is one of the most powerful things you can do to promote a good night’s rest for your child and one of the best ways to help them capture all the essential benefits of sleep.

Now that you know how important sleep is, and how many hours it takes to make their morning great, how can YOU help children in your community get the sleep they deserve and need?

Learn more about how you can help.