Sleep is an integral contributor to how well a person functions, and without it the body is unable to work at full capacity. Parents should never overlook the importance that sleep has on the health and wellbeing of their children. For children this is especially important because those who are not getting enough sleep are unable to do their best on a day to day basis. Lack of sleep can lead to a weak immune system causing the child to succumb to more sickness. A lack of sleep can also cause behavioral problems such as impulsive behavior, lack of concentration and hyperactivity. Being overly tired can lead to learning problems and lack of enthusiasm. Loss of sleep can even lead to heart disease and obesity in adulthood.
So what is the proper amount of sleep for a child? Each child is an individual and the correct duration will vary, but a simple guideline will show if your child is near their required amount of sleep.
How much sleep do Newborns (from birth till 8 weeks) need?
Newborns sleep around 13 to 18 hours a day, usually in sporadic periods varying in length. Hunger will often wake them up, so babies don’t normally sleep for more than 4 or 5 hours at a time. There is a huge fluctuation in their sleep habits. Their body rhythm has not been established so a pattern cannot be observed.
How much sleep do Infants (from 3 months to 1 year) need?
Infants sleep around 12 hours during night. Small naps during the day time are common. The total hours of sleep for each day is anywhere from 12 to 15 hours.
How much sleep do Toddlers (from 1 to 4 years) need?
Toddlers generally sleep for extended periods through the night, often 10 to 12 hours period. Day time naps decrease, but may still occur. A pre-bedtime routine is a good thing to develop at this age because it will help the child to settle into their circadian rhythm. Day time naps are still a normal need for children at the toddler stage.
How much sleep do School Children aged 5 to 12 need?
Children of this age really still need a long period of sleep each night. 10 to 11 hours is appropriate. Napping generally disappears by age 7 or 8. It is essential to get them on a steady routine for sleeping because children who are tired in the morning can experience reduced performance at school during the day. Picking a bed time that allows them to get enough time for sleep is essential.
How much sleep do Adolescents aged 13 to 18 need?
Teens need around 8 to 10 hours of sleep at night to perform their best during the day. However, it is this group that suffers the most from sleep deprivation. Sleep at this age is difficult to determine because theories vary widely. Some scientists think that adolescents should continue to get up to 11 hours at night, while others claim that 8.5 to 9.5 hours is sufficient. If the child has trouble staying focused at school in the morning, then an earlier bed time might be necessary.
Some tips to make your child sleep better
- Teach your child some relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing.
- Reduce your child’s caffeine intake, especially during evening hours.
- Set a specific regular wake up and sleep pattern.
- Reduce electronic interaction at least 1 hour before bed. A constant stream of media, in any form, causes the body to stay alert.
- Create a calm bedtime routine. Reading books is the age-old effective method.