How much sleep do children need?
Most parents believe their child is getting enough sleep. But did you know that more than half of children don’t get the recommended amount of sleep they need? Developing healthy sleep habits is essential to your child’s overall health.
Average Amount of Sleep Needed
- 1-4 weeks old: 15 - 16 hours per day
- 1-12 months old: 14 - 15 hours per day
- 1-3 years old: 12 - 14 hours per day
- 3-6 years old: 10 - 12 hours per day
- 7-12 years old: 10 - 11 hours per day
- 12-18 years old: 8 - 10 hours per day
*This is simply a reference. If you are concerned with the amount of sleep your child is or isn’t getting, talk to their doctor.
Benefits of Sleep
- Improved mood and decreased risk of depression and anxiety
- Improved ability to concentrate and perform better in school
- Decreased risk of illnesses, obesity and future heart problems
- Decreased risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
- Better performance in physical activity
Helping children sleep well
Many parents struggle to get their children the recommended amount of sleep daily. Below are a few strategies to help your child develop good sleep habits.
Create a bedtime routine - Children thrive on routine. Incorporating a nightly routine before bed will help soothe your child and get them ready for sleep.
Sample of a bedtime routine
- Bath time with dim lighting
- Put on pajamas
- Snack with a small glass of milk – not too much liquid before bed
- Brush teeth
- Read a book
- Tuck your child into bed and say good night
Unplug the bedroom. Turn off TVs, computers and cell phones. Better yet, keep these out of the bedroom, which should be a stimulation-free zone.
Go decaf. Drinking any caffeine during the day can affect sleep. Caffeine is found not just in coffee and soda, but also in tea and chocolate.
Reduce daytime stimulation. Overbooked kids who rush from band practice to dance class to dinner to homework may be too keyed up at bedtime to unwind. Experts recommend one activity per season.
Get help. If, despite these measures, your child still resists bedtime, has nighttime awakenings or snores, talk with your doctor.
OSF Sleep cares for infants and children with all kinds of sleep disorders.
Our sleep specialists and neonatologists provide evaluation and home monitoring for infants with apnea. Our individualized approach minimizes testing and shortens the duration of home monitoring.
We also evaluate children of all ages for diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea, and we treat many other sleep problems that are common in children.
- Sleep apnea or snoring
- Difficulty sleeping
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Sleep-related behaviors (such as sleepwalking or sleep terrors )
- Other clinical sleep-related issues
- Clinical evaluations, treatment, and follow-up by board-certified sleep specialists
- Multiple sleep latency testing
- Analysis of home monitoring for apnea of infancy and apnea of prematurity