How much sleep does my child need?
Childrens Health > How much sleep does my child need?
A good night’s sleep is a very important children’s health issue. Like all things concerning children, the amount of sleep a child requires really depends on the individual child. There is no magic number regarding how much little Johnny should sleep every night, but there are some basic averages based on age that will give a good idea of an acceptable range for your child.
Newborns tend to sleep 16 to 20 hours per day, their longest periods of sleep being four or five hours at a time. However, newborns vary greatly and some may be able to sleep eight hours at a time while others only two or three. The baby’s health is the main factor to be considered at this age. If your baby is healthy, then his or her sleeping pattern is probably just fine. Once babies reach three months, 90% of them will sleep through the night with only one or two minor interruptions.
From six to twelve months, infants can typically sleep eleven hours at night, while spending three hours napping during the day. At this time, if your baby continues to awaken more than five or six times a night, you should consult your doctor for advice and a quick check-up to insure that all is well. There is no reason for alarm, but it is best to make sure there are no minor problems that are keeping your child awake.
Children from one to three years old typically sleep ten to thirteen hours a night. At this stage, establishing bedtime routine and a set bedtime will help him or her relax and will make putting your child to bed a lot easier in the future when school becomes a factor. When children reach four or five, they typically continue to sleep ten to thirteen hours per night, and daytime naps are no longer needed, assuming the child does not have many nighttime disturbances in sleep patterns.
Once a child reaches school age, he or she typically requires eleven hours of sleep. This varies for all children, but as ages increase sleep needs typically decrease. An eleven year old typically needs ten hours of sleep, and as children progress into teen years this need decreases a bit more, eventually reaching the typical adult sleep need of seven to nine hours every night.
Though these estimates are a good guide, it is very important to tailor your child’s bedtime routine to his or her own specific needs. Some children function well on much less sleep, while others tend to drag even though they are meeting the average requirements. Pay special attention to when your child naturally gets sleepy at night, and try to establish bedtimes based on his or her natural cycle. If your child sleeps for eight hours and awakes bright-eyed and bushy-tailed every morning and makes it through the day without napping or dragging, it is probably best not to try to change what is working.