How Much Sleep Do Children Need?

There’s no magical number of hours required by all kids in a certain age group.

Most kids’ sleep requirements fall within a predictable range of hours based on their age, but each child is a unique individual with distinct sleep needs. As they grow older they will adjust in accordance to demands on their energy and daily schedule. The following is a general guideline;

1-4 Weeks Old 15 – 16 hours per day1-4 Months Old 14 – 15 hours per day4-12 Months Old 14 – 15 hours per day1-3 Years Old 12 – 14 hours per day3-6 Years Old 10 – 12 hours per day7-12 Years Old 10 – 11 hours per day12-18 Years Old 8 – 9 hours per day

What the experts say:Lack of sleep has the ability to completely change a child’s life. Physically they may not grow to their true height, their weight can increase and they are open to a higher risk of diabetes which then leads to other health problems. Intellectually they may have problems in the inability to retain information correctly. They are more accident-prone due to bad judgements. They can either be withdrawn and uninterested in life or hyper-active. A good night’s sleep is as important to a child’s well-being as food and drink.

“If a child has poor sleep habits or refuses to nap or go to bed before 10 at night, his parents will assume that he just doesn’t need much sleep. That’s probably not the case – in fact, it’s likely that such a child is actually sleep-deprived, resulting in hyper, overtired behaviour at bedtime” – Sleep expert Jodi Mindell, author of Sleeping Through the Night

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that parents look out for the following signs of sleep deprivation –

  • Difficulty waking in the morning
  • Irritability in the afternoon
  • Falling asleep during the day
  • Oversleeping on the weekend
  • Having difficulty remembering or concentrating
  • Waking up often and having trouble going back to sleep

In Short: Few would disagree that children are at their most wonderful when sleeping. Probably because they’re not making noise. But how much sleep do they need?

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Posts from the Harvey Norman blog team.

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