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How Much Sleep Does Your Child Need? An Age-By-Age Guide

by Vannessa Rhoades 04 Oct 2022
How Much Sleep Does Your Child Need? An Age-By-Age Guide

Good quality sleep is vital to our well-being. Not only does it help us recharge and stabilize our mood, but it’s especially critical for the developing bodies and brains of children. From infancy, humans undergo extensive growth that impacts the brain, body, emotions, and behavior and forms the foundation for their continued growth through childhood and adolescence. As a child grows, the amount of sleep they need to stay healthy changes as well. 

Why Sleep is Important

Getting the right amount of sleep affects a child’s overall health and development. Adequate sleep plays a vital role in a child’s ability to learn, pay attention, and regulate emotions. Conversely, lack of sleep can cause children to have difficulty with basic abilities, such as fine and gross motor skills, memory and concentration, and behavior. Children who don’t get enough sleep also tend to struggle with more physiological issues, such as decreased metabolism and an increased risk for inflammation, disease, and infection.

How to Know if Your Child Is Not Getting Adequate Sleep

If waking your child in the morning is a challenge or if they're showing inattentiveness during the day, it’s possible they’re not getting enough sleep. Crankiness, inability to focus, and difficulty regulating emotions are common in all ages of children who aren’t getting enough sleep. Children who experience difficulty getting quality sleep on a regular basis may be suffering from a more serious sleep disorder. Consult your pediatrician if you think this could be the case with your child.

How to Know if Your Child is Getting Too Much Sleep

While this issue is less common, it’s still possible for a child to sleep too much. These little ones may have difficulty falling asleep at bedtime, wake exceptionally early (prior to 6 a.m.), and wake repeatedly throughout the night. Frequently, the primary cause of this is older children taking unnecessary naps at preschool or daycare, thus messing up their nighttime sleep patterns.

How Much Sleep Does Your Child Need? An Age-By-Age Guide


Childhood Sleep Guidelines

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has released official recommendations for the amount of sleep children need at different stages of development. These estimates reflect total sleep hours over a 24-hour period on a regular basis, including naps and nighttime sleeping.

Their recommendations are as follows:

  • Infants four to 12 months: 12 to 16 hours 
  • Children one to two years: 11 to 14 hours 
  • Children three to five years: 10 to 13 hours
  • Children six to 12 years: nine to 12 hours 
  • Teenagers 13 to 18 years: eight to 10 hours 

Tips for Developing Healthy Sleep Habits

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) endorses the AASM guidelines and urges parents to ensure kids create healthy sleep habits early in life.

  • Stay consistent. Keeping a regular schedule for waking, eating, playing, and napping provides your child with a feeling of security and predictability. Consistent bedtime routines and rituals are especially helpful with younger children.

Tonies Bedtime Songs and Lullabies Tonie Audio Play Figurine is a select compilation of the most popular traditional children's songs for bedtime. The music helps kids fall asleep peacefully, relax and rejuvenate, have sweet dreams, and spread love and positivity.

  • Avoid feeding babies solid food prior to six months. Their immature digestive systems can’t handle solids before this age. Feeding them solids may contribute to tummy aches and lower quality sleep.
  • Avoid putting babies to bed with a bottle. Nurse or bottle feed your little one, and then place them in their bed for sleep. A bottle of water is alright, but giving them a bottle of formula, milk, or juice can lead to baby bottle tooth decay.
  • Engage in physical activity. Give your children plenty of opportunities throughout the day for fresh air and exercise.
  • Make their room conducive to sleep. Adjust the room temperature. Darken the room. Limit the number of toys to only a beloved stuffed animal or other lovie. Keep your little one’s bedroom a safe place to sleep, instead of a place to play.

The Cloud B Twinkles To Go Pink Octopus is the perfect solution to helping little ones sleep on the go. This sleep-soother transforms your child's sleeping area into a starry night sky, whether baby is in the back seat, in a hotel suite, or staying and grandma and grandpa’s house. Pink Octopus makes bedtime fun and helps ease children's fear of the dark by projecting a starry night sky onto the bedroom ceiling and walls. The perfect sleep companion for children of all ages!

  • Limit screen time. The AAP suggests powering down all screens at least an hour prior to bedtime. They also advise keeping screens of any kind – laptop, tablet, television, etc. – out of the bedroom entirely.
  • Give children downtime. Many children have full schedules of lessons, sporting events, tutoring, and other appointments that may make it difficult to wind down. Try to keep a little less on the schedule so that your children can get the rest they need.
  • Understand teenagers need extra sleep. Sleep cycles change with the onset of puberty. Unfortunately, most junior high and high schools begin classes earlier than elementary schools. The AAP recommends secondary schools begin class at 8:30 a.m. or later.
  • Emphasize the importance of adequate sleep for the entire family. As a caregiver, you set the tone for the family. Staying up all night to finish a project doesn't set an ideal example for kids. Prioritizing sleep for yourself and the entire family teaches kids to make sleep part of healthy living.
  • Keep an eye out for common sleep issues. The most typical sleep problems for kids are waking up at night, difficulty falling asleep, delaying or fighting going to sleep, snoring, apnea, and heavy, loud breathing while sleeping. Consult your pediatrician if you have concerns.

The Takeaway

Even though sleep requirements will vary as your child grows, the reasons sleep is vitally important stay the same. Sleep is critical at all stages of growth for healthy learning, development, and overall quality of life. Making sure there is plenty of time for sleep is one of the best ways to promote a healthy lifestyle for a child. If you’re concerned that your child is sleeping too little or too much, consult a doctor or locate a local sleep specialist at an accredited sleep center

ANB Baby has everything you need to soothe your little one into a peaceful slumber. Take a look at all the products and tools we offer for a healthy, good night’s sleep.

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