By Brian Acton
Every year, the National Sleep Foundation hosts the annual Sleep Awareness Week - this year, it’s falling on March 8th – 14th. The awareness week is intended to promote healthy sleeping habits and help people focus on sleep to improve the health, mental well-being, and overall quality of life.
For parents of children, knowing how much sleep their child should get can be difficult. The amount of sleep that children need changes quickly as they get older.
For Sleep Awareness Week, here’s the recommended amount of sleep your child needs by age group.
- Newborn Babies
Healthy newborn babies and infants up to three months old should spend most of their time sleeping, around 15 - 18 hours a day (though the reality can vary). As any parent can tell you, these hours don’t occur all at once - newborns typically wake up every few hours to eat. Overnight, babies can be expected to wake up a few times a night (though they don’t always follow these rules or establish a consistent pattern immediately, and some babies will have more trouble sleeping than others).
- Infants Age Four to 11 Months
From four to eleven months, babies generally need about 12 - 15 hours of sleep each day. Hopefully by this point, the baby is establishing more consistent sleeping patterns and sleeping for longer unbroken chunks of time. They may sleep more at night and less during the day than they did before, though this can vary.
- Toddlers and Preschoolers
Between one years and two years old, toddlers need around 12 - 14 hours of sleep a day. This number may include sleeping through the night, and a daily nap. Of course, toddlers have been known to refuse naps and they may not always get the recommended amount of sleep they need.
Once they reach ages three to five, preschoolers will still need around 10 - 13 hours of sleep per day. Naps may phase out around age four or five.
- Schoolchildren Age Six to 13
Schoolchildren from age range six to 13 tend to see later bedtimes, spending more time in the evening on activities, social time with friends and family, and homework. While bedtimes range a lot in this age group, kids this age typically need around 9 to eleven hours of sleep.
By the age of 13, teenagers are starting to approach the sleep needs of a full-grown adult. Teenagers typically need about eight to ten hours of sleep to function properly, though only a small number of teens get the full amount of sleep they need.
There are many factors that can affect the quality and quantity of sleep your child gets. Colicky babies may sleep far below the recommended amount, and teenagers may want to nap all the time. But no matter the age, helping them consistently get a good amount of quality sleep is important for daily functioning. Here are some tips for getting your child on a sleep schedule.