There are averages, but depending on age, children will need different amounts of sleep.
Parents know how important sleep is for growing children and can tell when their children are tired. Trying to get children to sleep and adjusting their sleep schedules is one of the biggest challenges parents face when raising children. Sleeping difficulties don’t just last during infancy; they can continue on as children grow.
While there are no set rules for sleep, there are recommended guidelines for the amount of sleep by age. As an adult, you may have noticed you can’t sleep in as long as you could as a teenager. The sleep needs of children change over time as they grow and age. Read on to find out how much sleep children need depending on their age. We’ll also answer some FAQs you might have about kids and sleep.
Table of Contents
1. How Much Sleep Do Babies Need? (0-4 years)
2. How Much Sleep Do Children Need?
3. How Much Sleep Do Teenagers Needs?
As children grow and change, so do their sleep needs. School times, home life, and health issues can impact the quality and amount of your child’s sleep. Every child is different when it comes to the amount of sleep they need. As we grow into teenagers and then adults, sleep needs evolve. They also can evolve based on our activities, health, schedules, and what our bodies need for recovery.
Adequate sleep is vital at every age, from the time we are born until we are older adults. Adults require 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night in order to stay healthy. To support their growth and development, babies, young children, and teenagers require significantly more sleep. Additionally, those above the age of 65 need 7 to 8 hours every night.
To develop healthy sleep habits, the first step is to be aware of the general suggestions for how much sleep you require. Then, it’s critical to consider your own requirements in light of elements like your degree of exercise and general health. Finally, following good sleep advice and practicing good sleep hygiene is essential if you want to achieve the recommended amount of sleep.
Babies spend the majority of the first year of their life sleeping. The importance of sleep to young children cannot be overstated. The first few years of life are vital to the development of our brain, body, emotions, and behavior. This time also lays the groundwork for future development throughout childhood and adolescence.These ranges represent total sleep, which includes napping during the day and nighttime sleep.
Newborns need more sleep than other age groups with a total of up to 16-17 hours a day. On average, newborns will sleep 8 to 9 hours at night and 8 hours during the day. While newborns sleep most of the time, they sleep in short bursts of 1-2 hours. When newborns are not sleeping, they are eating. Newborn babies spend less time in REM sleep, or rapid eye movement than older children-meaning they sleep more but not as deeply.
The infant stage begins when a child reaches 4 months of age and lasts until they reach their first birthday. At this age, children can usually sleep for 5 hours at a time-finally giving parents a break! Around the time your child reaches one-year-old, nightly sleep increases to 10 whole hours and will nap during the day for about 14-15 hours a day.
Due to the fact that this is a period of rapid development, babies sleep for more than half of their awake hours. During sleep, neural networks are created and actions are carried out that are beneficial to learning, thinking, and the maturation of behavior. This takes place in the developing brain. Because of enough rest and nutrition, a newborn is able to experience physical development, which includes getting bigger and acquiring more developed motor skills.
When parents are worried about their child’s sleep, they should first consult a pediatrician. The doctor may be able to tell if your baby’s sleep has a regular pattern or may indicate a potential sleeping problem if you keep a sleep diary to document your baby’s sleeping habits and change anything that might be negatively impacting their sleep. Most of the time, babies will sleep with no problems. Here are a few things that can affect your baby’s sleep.
Due to this, it is understandable for parents to want to ensure that their children get the necessary amount of sleep. Remember, these are recommended guidelines and some children may benefit from either more or even less sleep. While keeping in mind that a healthy quantity of sleep may differ across children or from day to day, parents can benefit from utilizing these recommendations to ensure their child gets the proper sleep.
As soon as your infant begins to toddle, you can expect them to spend less time sleeping and more time discovering their surroundings. From the ages of one to three, toddlers typically sleep for between 12 and 14 hours per day. As any parent of a toddler knows, the terrible twos are generally accompanied by significant behavioral shifts, including a regression in sleep and acting out when it is time for night or naps.
When your child reaches the age of 3, the average number of hours spent sleeping will drop to between 11 and 13 each night. Children of this age are more likely to have dreams that are more vivid, as well as nightmares and sleep terrors. Night terrors are known to be disruptive to sleep and a source of extreme worry. These episodes might have a negative impact on your child’s health since they prevent them from getting enough sleep.
At age 5, most children will start school and their sleep schedule will change based on school start times. Similar to when they were younger, kids this age normally go to bed between 7 and 9 p.m. and wake up between 6 and 8 a.m. Most kids will stop taking naps at this point. If they nap, the length of naps also gets shorter over time. Typically, sleep issues do not recur after the age of 3.
Once your child reaches school-age, they need to sleep 9-11 hours per night. This will decrease as they get older and possibly increase again as they enter the more active teenage years. Still, at this age, sleep is just as important as the earlier stages of your child’s life. During this time, your children will develop a social life and hobbies that can distract them from healthy sleep. Keep your child on a routine and consistent bedtime to keep them healthy and function at their best.
The ill effects of poor sleep start to impact your child at this age. One study found that children aged 5-6 years who slept less than 9 hours daily were 3-5 times more likely to develop attention problems like ADHD and other psychiatric symptoms. The study also found that children aged 5-6 who slept less than 10 hours a night were twice as likely to become overweight or obese later in life.
Even while the average sleep time is just approximately 9 hours, there is still a wide variety of bedtimes, from 7:30 to 10 p.m., as well as total sleep times, from 9 to 12 hours. Each child will have varying needs for sleep; some children will need more sleep than others. Your child’s sleep schedule will remain healthy if you are mindful of how much sleep they need and encourage them to get it.
By age 6, children are in school and have adapted to that schedule. Depending on your child’s needs, it is likely they will sleep the recommended 9-11 hours per night. Each child will have different sleep needs; some will sleep more, others less. Knowing how much sleep your child needs and helping them get that all-important sleep will help keep both them and their sleep schedules healthy.
By age 7, children have adjusted to school and the schedule that goes with that. Your child may sleep 9-11 hours each night, depending on their needs. Some kids sleep more than others. Helping your child get enough sleep will keep them and their sleep patterns healthy. To do this, make sure their room is kept dark and cool, and set a bedtime for everyday of the week, not just weekends.
Most 8-year-olds need 10 to 11 hours of sleep every night. Determine what time your child must get up each morning to go to school, then start counting backwards from that time. According to research, kids this age who go to bed before 9:00 PM sleep longer and soundly at night.
A 9-year-old requires 9 to 12 hours of sleep every night. The coordination and development of the major muscles will continue to advance in 9-year-olds, which is why they need more sleep. They are also quite active and probably have an interest in sports and other team-based physical activities. But if they don’t get enough rest, they could have less energy, which would make it harder for them to perform physically.
At 10-years-old, your child will need up to 10 hours of sleep. By this age, they will no longer need as much sleep as they did a few years prior. It is also possible that your child might need up to 12 hours of sleep if they are particularly active or are going through a growth spurt.
An 11-year-old will need about 9-10 hours of sleep every night. This age is in the midst of the pre-teen or “tween” stage of life. You might see your child wanting more sleep as their body prepares for adolescence. Again, like at other ages, if your child is active, they will need a little more sleep at this age as well.
12-year-olds need up to 12 hours of sleep per night. Anywhere from 9 to 11 hours per night should be adequate for a regular schedule. Kids this age are deep into the tween years and are probably acting more like a teenager which means they are probably wanting to sleep more, anyway.
Like newborns, teenagers are known for their marathon sleep sessions. Drastic growth spurts and hormonal changes can disrupt sleep patterns. Don’t be alarmed if your teenager sleeps until 3:00 pm on a Saturday. It is no surprise that, according to the CDC, 7 in 10 high schoolers do not get the recommended 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night. Poor sleep in teenagers is attributed to mood disorders, decreased cognitive function, and an increased rate of engaging in risky behavior.
13-year-olds need an average of 8-10 hours of sleep per day. When your child becomes a teenager, it is likely they will sleep more than they did just a few short years earlier. Teenagers, especially boys, go through growth spurts frequently at this age. Just like infants, growth spurts require the body to sleep to reset and grow properly. Don’t be alarmed if your teenager sleeps more than 10 hours or takes a nap during the day after school or on weekends.
14-year-olds, just like their younger counterparts, need 8-10 hours of sleep each night. At this age, your teenager is likely going through growth spurts. When this is happening, they will most likely sleep more. If you’re 14-year-old is sleeping in on the weekends, it is completely normal, as they are either in the middle of a growth spurt or are making up sleep debt.
When your child reaches age 15, they will need at least 8 or 10 hours of sleep per night. On average, 9 hours of sleep should be ideal for a 15-year-old. Teenagers’ sleeping habits differ from those of adults and younger children. The body’s circadian rhythm is reset during the teen years. Because of this, teens may find it more difficult to get to sleep early because at this age the body starts releasing melatonin later in the day. At 15, teens will probably have started to see their circadian rhythms reset to a later time.
16-year-olds also need 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night. By this age, teenagers are deep into high school and are likely involved in numerous activities, like sports, part-time jobs, dating, and other extracurriculars. Using technology, such as laptops, tablets, and phones, also makes it difficult to go to sleep. Teenagers frequently stay up late messaging, gaming, and watching videos with their friends.
While on the older end of the teenage years, 17-year-olds will probably sleep 8-9 hours per night. For active 17-year-olds, it’s likely they will get less sleep during busy weeknights due to homework, jobs, or extracurricular activities. Early school start times are another factor in a lack of sleep.
Teenagers who go to bed after midnight still have to wake up early for school, so they might only receive 6 or 7 hours of sleep every night. Even though a few hours of sleep a night may not seem like much, they add up over time to produce a definite sleep deficit.
18-year-olds need around 8 hours of sleep every night. While legally, an 18-year-old is an adult, it is possible they occasionally need more sleep as they still might be growing. At this age, teens are more active than ever with the end of high school, jobs, and possibly transitioning to college, so they might be extra tired on weekends or during downtime.
Making a child’s bedroom tranquil, quiet, and pleasant is a good first step in helping them sleep. Children of any age can sleep more consistently if distractions, including those from TV or other electronic devices, are kept to a minimum. By forming sound sleeping habits, such as a regular bedtime and pre-bed routine, you can emphasize the value of going to bed on time and reduce nightly sleep inconsistencies. Giving kids a chance to burn off their excess energy during the day and unwind before bedtime can help them fall asleep faster and sleep through the night.
If your child has issues with sleep, it is best to talk to their doctor, who can provide them with a proper diagnosis. Their doctor can also provide medications, if needed, and offer some suggestions to help them sleep better. Also, keeping a sleep journal and documenting your child’s behavior during the day can help you determine if there is a common denominator in their sleep habits.
Here are a few resources from our blog that discuss common sleep issues:
For children, taking a nap can count towards the total number of hours spent sleeping during a 24-hour period. When compared to kids who aren’t napping, those who are napping have longer attention spans and are less cranky. When naps are discontinued, which normally happens at the age of three, they should be replaced with a scheduled quiet time. As long as your child is getting enough sleep for their individual needs, they should be fine and healthy.
For healthy living and functioning at every stage of life, sleep is essential. Similar bedtime routines for adults and children promote sound sleep. Sleeping like a baby is a cliché, yet kids can have sleep disorders and disturbances, just like adults do.
For even more sleep resources for both children and adults as well as mattress recommendations, check out our blog. Along with mattresses for adults and sleep accessories, SleePare carries mattresses for kids. Click here to view our mattresses for kids buying guide.
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Emily Stringer is a Content Writer at SleePare. Emily has over five years of experience writing and conducting research for different industries. When she’s not writing, you can find Emily with her dogs in Lexington, Kentucky.