There’s no one-size-fits-all answer since several factors can make this vary significantly. But, generally speaking, toddlers need around 12 hours of sleep at night: Children aged 3 to 6 years need roughly 10 – 12 hours of sleep; kids aged 7 to 12 years need around 10 – 11 hours of sleep; while teenagers typically need around 8 – 9 hours.
There’s no doubt that getting kids to sleep all night long is every parent’s goal [particularly new parents!]
Aside from the relief that comes from knowing your little ones are in bed [I mean, you worry less about where they are or what they’re up to right?], babies, children and even teens need significantly more sleep-time than adults -- since sleep is crucial to their mental and physical development.
Children often ‘trick’ us into thinking they don’t need sleep as they resist bedtime, go hyper when they should be slowing down -- but all this can be because they’re overtired [imagine that!]
Research shows that early bedtime routine for children [7:00 – 8:00 p.m.] works best for babies and kids through school age.
And while it’s a fact that sleep needs vary from one child to another, parents still want to know how many hours of sleep are recommended. Well, below is a general sleep guideline to follow:
1 – 4 Weeks Old: 15 to 16 hours a day
Newborns can do 15 to 18 hours a day but not at a stretch. Typically, they sleep short periods of 2 to 4 hours that add up.
One reason babies put in long hours into sleep [perhaps they have no worries or responsibilities right?] is that they do not yet have an internal biological clock [or do and are simply ignoring it].
1 – 4 Months Old: 14 to 15 hours a day
OK, so as a baby grows from weeks to months [it’d seem their internal clock starts to take charge] you may notice some semblance of sleep pattern emerging.
Sleep span improves to 4 - 6 hours and tends to occur more in the evenings.
4 – 12 Months Old: 14 to 15 hours a day
While the goal here is to help your kids establish a healthy sleep habit [say, 15 hours per day,] most infants - 11 months and up - get about 12 hours of sleep…and that’s fine.
1 – 3 Years Old: 12 to 14 hours a day
At this stage, kids generally lose their morning and early evening nap, napping only once a day [aka their body clock gets in sync and fully in charge at this point].
Well, toddlers need up to 14 hours of sleep per day, but because they now engage in some activities during the day [like adults,] they typically only get around 10 hours.
3 – 6 Years Old: 10 to 12 hours a day
Children who fall in this category typically go to bed between 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. and then wake up around 6:00 and 8:00 a.m.
Most kids are still napping at age 3, but by age 5, most outgrow it. They spend their ‘non-napping’ times trying to ‘do’ like adults.
7 – 12 Years Old: 10 to 11 hours a day
As kids approach the teen years, all kinds of activities [social, school, family] disrupt their sleep patterns and they tend to push bedtime later into the night [most 12-year-olds go to bed from 9 pm]
Average hours put into sleep at this stage is around 9 hours.
12 – 18 Years Old: 8 to 9 hours a day
Children in their teen years struggle the most with getting enough sleep…by choice. They’re in that ‘discovery’ period in their life when sleep looks like an ‘unsmart’ move.
And yet, getting enough sleep is just as vital to health and general well-being for teens as when they were younger [but oftentimes, social pressures stand in the way of them putting in the essential hours in Zzz world].
Alright folks, this is it - but before you go...