17 Sep How Much Sleep Do Children Need?
Do you ever worry that your child isn’t getting the right amount of sleep? Do different ages have different needs? Are teenagers just lazy? Dormeo has done some research into the best practices for giving your little ones the best preparation for their busy days of learning, playing and developing. So how much sleep do children need?
Children aged 1-4 weeks
15-18 hours of sleep per day
Newborn babies tend to need to sleep anywhere between 15 and 18 hours a day. Their little bodies have had a big shock in coming into the world and in this period they are doing a huge amount of developing and growing.
Of course, as any parent will testify, these 15-18 hours are not achieved in one solitary burst, and the parents’ sleep will be regularly interrupted in this early stage.
(TIP for parents: consider how much motion transfer there is on your mattress. One with a memory foam construction is best for combating this – that means it doesn’t transfer the movements of your partner. This’ll make a massive difference to the quality of sleep you get – and your quality of life as a result – as you and your partner don’t disturb each other when getting in and out of bed for nighttime feeds).
Remember that premature children often sleep more. This is quite normal. Remember, too, that sleeping times won’t have a recognisable pattern yet, since newborns haven’t yet developed their internal biological clock . To the baby there is no night and day – it’s all one!
Children aged 1-4 months
14-15 hours of sleep per day
Children of this age are a little more accustomed to their new rhythm, so you’ll start to notice more regulated sleep patterns (hallelujah!), the difference between day and night finally becoming a bit clearer. And the best part of this period? The periods of sleep are finally a little bit longer – if you are very lucky, you might even be able to afford to six hours of sleep at a time. Bliss!
Children aged 4-12 months
12-15 hours of sleep per day
The optimum amount of sleep at this age is still up to around 15 hours a day, even if it’s sometimes quite difficult to get that full amount. But don’t worry – anything over 12 hours should be just fine. It’s vital that during this period, you make sure you are building healthy sleeping habits. This will also get easier every day with your child growing up and gaining a better understanding of the world around them.
All children from six months of age are technically able to sleep all night. But of course this doesn’t mean that it will actually happen! If your child has problems sleeping at night, you could consider the number of naps they have during the day:
- For children younger than six months three naps is the optimum number.
- For the slightly older, two should be quite enough.
12-14 hours of sleep per day
Toddlers tend to need about 14 hours of sleep per day, but unfortunately they usually only sleep for about 10 consecutive hours. Try as hard as you can to squeeze one or two additional hours of sleep out of them at night, while also restricting the number of daily naps – one a day at this age is quite enough.
With your child entering their third year they will still need a daily nap. This can last from one hour up to three, but will probably gradually become a little less with each passing month.
During this period, you will probably also see fewer problems with night-time sleeps – usually sleeping somewhere between 7pm and 9pm, and waking up between 6pm and 8am.
Children aged 3-6 years
10-12 hours of sleep per day
This is the period in which they end up leaving daytime naps behind. Goodbye free time! Even though your three year old probably still needs a little bit of sleep during the day, this will need to be left behind by the time they get into their fifth year. Just make sure that your child gets enough high quality sleep at night.
The good news is that sleeping problems are now almost behind you and you can relax. Experience shows that new sleep problems rarely occur after the age of three.
Children aged 7-12 years
10-11 hours of sleep per day
Although children at this age often sleep only about 9 hours, you should try to ensure they get 10-11 hours. This is due to the increasing number of activities that the children are taking on, such as school, after-school activities, playing with friends… and so on.
Most 12 year olds go to bed at about 9pm, but this varies anywhere between 7.30-10pm according to the needs of the individual, and indeed according to different parenting styles.
When children outgrow their 12th year and become dreaded TEENAGERS, the amount of sleep required is highly dependent on their individual needs. Some teenagers need about the same amount of sleep as adults (ie somewhere between eight and nine hours), while others need a lot of sleep – almost as much as toddlers – particularly during these big growth spurts. There’s a lot going on in a teenager’s body and sometimes a little extra sleep is the perfect remedy.
Good sleep is very important for growth. It’s essential for the brain to function properly, it restores and regenerates your mind, body and soul. This is absolutely essential for your growing adolescent. You can read more from the Sleep Foundation on the matter here.
Think for a minute before automatically yelling your teenager out of bed!
Related article: Why good sleep is vital to studies.
Shop for a mattress with no motion transfer.