Why is Sleep Important for Children - Part 7 (How Much Sleep Do Children Need)

When it comes to children, it seems like they can sleep all day. You just have to look at babies to know that sleep is essential to their development. Babies can sleep for 16-18 hours a day when they’re first born. As they get older, they sleep less, but they will need rest more frequently. They’ll have naps during the day to be able to handle the rest of whatever life throws at them.

But why is this sleep so important? Just what is it about growing children that requires extra sleep throughout the day? Here’s a look at everything you need to know about sleep and child development.

sleep needs


Make sure your child gets enough sleep for the age. Younger children need more throughout the day than older ones. The sleep does accumulate across a 24 hours period.

For example, newborns will need between 16 and 18 hours of sleep a day. This isn’t going to be in one sitting. Some will sleep through the night for 12 hours without a problem and then need a few one-hour naps throughout the day. Others will have four-hour naps with periods of awake on a regular basis.

As babies reach the three-month stage, they need around 11-15 hours of sleep daily. Between four months and a year, that time drops to between 9 and 12 hours, and most will sleep through the night and just need a few naps throughout the day.

Toddlers and preschoolers do a lot of running around and growing. They will sleep between 11 and 14 hours a day, usually in one sitting throughout the night. Between the ages of 6 and 13, children need somewhere between 9 and 11 hours of sleep, and usually not with a nap in the day. They may have a nap if they are ill.

The problem for growing children is that there is an increase in demand of their time. They get more homework from schools and want to do more activities with their friends. At the same time, their hormones are starting to shift to get ready for the teenage years.

Teenagers need around 9 hours of sleep, but the majority will only get around 7 hours. Don’t believe that your teenager is lazy on the weekend for sleeping until 10. Chances are their bodies need that sleep because of the demands throughout the week, especially if they do a lot of clubs or have a lot of homework – and of course, they think it’s cool to stay up late and play video games!

Getting the right amount of sleep is essential. The bodies need it for the whole development process. Without sleep, the brain just can’t process everything and help balance out the right hormones in the body. With the right amount of sleep, you will have a well-developed, happy, and attentive child, barring any other medical reasons for the opposite to happen.

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