How Many Hours of Sleep Your Child Needs at Every Age
As parents, we should know how many hours of sleep our children need every night according to their age. This knowledge will help us avoid the pitfalls of sleep deprivation.
It’s common for children to suffer from sleep disorders, particularly if they don’t have a routine that helps them get to sleep at night.
How many hours of sleep does my child need?
Getting enough hours of sleep will help children develop physically and mentally.
According to recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, this is how many hours of sleep your child needs, according to their age:
4 months to 1 year
A newborn baby generally needs to sleep for 16 to 17 hours a day. They can sleep for up to 9 hours at night.
Babies this age also nap frequently during the day to get the extra hours of sleep they need.
As your child grows, they’ll need fewer hours of sleep. By the time they’re a year old, they should be sleeping around 11 hours a night and 3 hours during the day.
1 to 3 years
When children are 1 or 2 years old, they should get between 10 and 14 hours of sleep a day.
Between 2 and 3, they may be able to cut down on naps. What is fundamental in a child’s early years is to get at least 10 hours of sleep a day.
60% of a child’s growth hormones are released during the first hour of sleep.
4 to 5 years
At this stage, your child will begin to sleep for between 10 and 12 hours a night.
From this moment on, naps are no longer a necessity, unless the child is particularly tired.
A quick rest after lunch won’t do any harm, however. At this age, your child needs to get enough sleep to do well in school.
6 years and up
As your child grows older, they’ll need to sleep less.
From 6 to 8 years of age, children need 11 to 12 hours, while between the ages of 10 and 12, 10 hours are usually enough.
Teens aged 13 and up will need to get between 8 and 10 hours of sleep a night.
Benefits of a good night’s sleep
Sleep is critical for children and teenagers. Getting enough hours of sleep ensures that children have enough energy to keep up with their daily activities and schoolwork.
Here are just a few of the advantages of a good night’s rest:
- Better attention span
- More emotional control
- Better behavior
- Better quality of life
- Greater capacity for learning
Consequences of sleep deprivation
Just as getting enough sleep has many benefits, losing sleep can have real negative consequences for children.
Energy levels and learning ability are just two factors that are commonly affected.
Here are some of the consequences of sleep deprivation in children:
- Children who get fewer hours of sleep than they should tend to get poorer grades in school.
- Language development occurs at a slower pace.
- By sleeping less, children lose out on part of their REM sleep. This phase of sleep is fundamental to creating memories and allows the child to take in what they’ve learned during the day. REM sleep is also necessary for the brain to recover.
- Sleep deprivation can affect a child’s immune system, leaving them exposed to colds, flu and other infectious illnesses.
- Children who get just 5 hours of sleep a night have double the risk of becoming obese as adults.
Tips to help children sleep
Parents should know how many hours of sleep their children need. If the problem is falling asleep, however, helping children get into good habits is also important.
Here is how you can help your child get the rest their body needs:
- It’s important for children to sleep in a comfortable bed, with low lighting and a pleasant temperature.
- Try not to have visitors, play games or listen to loud music after your child’s bedtime, try to avoid disturbing them.
- Avoid any drinks with caffeine after midday.
- Establish a good bedtime routine.
- Get your child up at the same time each day. Encourage them to get to sleep even if you aren’t there to put them to bed.
Now that you know how many hours of sleep your child needs according to their age, take action to help them get the sleep they need.
After all, not getting enough sleep has many negative consequences. With the tips mentioned above, you can avoid difficulties today and in the future.