How Much Sleep Do Kids Need?

Parents always feel like they never get a chance to catch up on sleep, but do not let that distract you from how crucial sleep is to your child’s development!

Babies, toddlers, and teens are constantly developing, both mentally and physically, and adequate sleep is necessary for them to get smarter and stronger!

But exactly how much sleep do my kids need? Well, it depends on the person, but each age group has general minimum sleep requirements for their optimal growth and performance.

In this article, we are going to break down the amount of sleep each age group needs to be happy and healthy. We are also going to go over key development phases in each age group so you can understand why sleep is so essential to your infant, toddler, or teen!

Newborns (0 – 4 Months)

Recommended: 14-17 Hours of sleep

Newborn bundles of joy will need to spend the majority of every day sleeping. However, as you probably already know, these hours will not be consecutive sleep. Newborns tend to sleep 2 or 3 hours at a time before waking up for food.

At night, you can expect your baby to knock out 8-12 hours of (nearly) continuous sleep. They will get the rest of their sleep through periodic naps, which become less frequent as they get older.

Why so much sleep?

They are new to the world, and their mind and body are rapidly growing. They need this much sleep to store every ounce of information they are getting, which is critical for their growth!

We are also going to slip in a safety note here: infants/newborns should sleep alone, on their backs, and in their crib! Remember this as the ABC’s of sleep.

Infants (4 – 12 Months)

Recommended: 14-15 hours of sleep

Now that your baby is getting older, their naps should become less frequent. You can expect 9-12 hours of nighttime sleep and about 2-4 hours of naps during the day.

Similar to newborns, they still need a lot of sleep to process all of the new information they get every day. This is important for the development of their memory, attention span, and awareness!

Toddlers (1 – 3 Years)

Recommended: 12-14 hours of sleep

Now that they are beginning to express themselves and move around, their nighttime sleep should become more constant, and their naps should decrease to about once or twice per day.

However, they start to become individuals at this age, and you will have to find out what sleep schedule works best for your child. Also, toddlers can be resistant to bedtime and get hyper when they are overtired, so you may struggle to get them into bed.

It is helpful to establish a routine with them and make sure they stick to it!

Benefits of Getting Enough Sleep

Sleep for toddlers is crucial for their growth! Toddlers do most of their growing and development in their sleep, so make sure they are getting enough of it.

Their bodies produce more growth hormone in this stage of their life, and they produce healthy quantities of it in their sleep!

Healthy amounts of sleep also lead to a stronger immune system, increased focus, and an all-around happier toddler… and we all want a lower the number of temper tantrums from our kids!

Pre-Schoolers (3 – 6 Years)

Recommended: 10-12 hours of sleep

Sleep now consists of a prolonged nighttime period of 9-10 hours and a short nap during the day for most kids this age.

You will still run into kids being hyper and not wanting to sleep, but hopefully, your established sleep schedule from before can help with this. You should also try to designate a daily nap time for them to stick to.

Benefits of Getting Enough Sleep

At this age, sleep is critical for learning and memory. They are starting to learn essential knowledge like math and reading, and they need to sleep to retain and apply this information.

Healthy sleep also allows them to focus on their learning for longer, which helps them get smarter faster!

School-aged (6 – 13 Years)

Recommended: 10-11 hours of sleep

This is the most significant transitional period in their life so far. They will slowly stop taking naps and begin to think for themselves. With today’s technology, however, they will likely want to stay up and avoid sleep.

Therefore, you may need to implement a “no technology” rule around bedtime to make sure they get enough rest.

Benefits of Getting Enough Sleep

In addition to all of the essential benefits of sleep above, at this age, kids begin to learn complex information, logic, reasoning, and social interactions.

Sleep is increasingly more important at this age. Look at sleep as an investment in the future; the better their rest schedule is at this age, the smarter and healthier they will be later in life!

Teenagers (13 – 18 Years)

Recommended: 8-9 hours of sleep

Finally, the teenage years. Teens tend to be sleep-deprived, and at this age, sleep is just as important as ever.

Sleep is necessary for growth and recovery, and this stage of life is when kids learn hard topics, play sports, and start figuring out their lives.

So make sure your teen gets enough sleep! It is crucial for learning, health, and emotional well-being.

Indicators/Consequences of Sleep Deprivation

Here are a few indicators that your child is not getting enough sleep:

  • Short attention span
  • Lack of motivation
  • Hyperactivity
  • Easily frustrated, cranky, moody
  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Frequent sickness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Falling asleep during the day (besides regular naps)

Keep an eye out for these behaviors, and make sure your kids are getting enough sleep! Over time, these behaviors can lead to more dangerous behaviors and illnesses, so it is important to catch them early.

If their behavior worsens and they still have trouble sleeping, do not hesitate to see a doctor for a medical solution.

Setting Your Child Up For Success

Sleep is one of the most important components of health in all facets of life. Healthy amounts of sleep will improve your child’s growth, learning, and attitude.

To make sure your child is set up for a happy, healthy, and successful life, make sure they are getting enough quality sleep!