How much sleep does my child need?

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The moment I became a mom I instantly became obsessed with the question, “How much sleep does my child need?

Every time my child is cranky or going through a challenging phase, I always find myself wondering if they are getting enough sleep. Nice to have something to blame it on, right mamas?!

If kids don’t get the sleep they need, things can get ugly. That can go for moms too. Just sayin’!

In the course of working with Serta as a brand ambassador for their amazing mattresses, I learned of their partnership with the National Sleep Foundation. Serta’s Perfect Sleeper is the official mattress of the National Sleep Foundation.

Since this organization is an expert on all things sleep related, I poked around to see what they had to say about children and sleep, and came across this great article I wanted to share with you.

What do you think? Would love to hear your comments below.

How Much Sleep Does My Child Need?

Information courtesy of the National Sleep Foundation.
Full article can be found here 

Newborns (Birth to 2 months)

For newborns, sleep during the early months occurs around the clock and the sleep-wake cycle interacts with the cycle of needing to be fed, changed and nurtured.

Newborns sleep a total of 10.5 to 18 hours a day on an irregular schedule with periods of one to three hours spent awake.

Newborns express sleepiness in different ways. Some fuss, cry, or rub their eyes.

It is best to put babies to bed when they are sleepy, but not asleep. They are more likely to fall asleep quickly and eventually learn how to get themselves to sleep. Newborns can be encouraged to sleep less during the day by exposing them to light and noise, and playtime. As evening approaches, quiet the environment with dimmer lights and less activity.

Newborn Sleep Tips

~ Observe baby’s sleep patterns and identify their individual signs of sleepiness.
~ Put your baby in the crib when drowsy, not asleep.
~ Encourage nighttime sleep.

Infants (3 – 11 months)

By six months of age, nighttime feedings are usually not necessary and many infants sleep through the night with 70-80 percent sleeping through the night by nine months of age.

(But those nine months can feel like eternity – right moms?!)

Infants typically sleep 9-12 hours during the night and take 30 minute – 2-hour naps, one to four times a day – the quantity of naps decreasing by age one.

When infants are put to bed drowsy but not quite asleep, they are more likely to become “self- soothers” which enables them to fall asleep on their own at bedtime and also put themselves back to sleep during the night. Those who have become accustomed to assistance to fall asleep from mom and dad at bedtime often become “signalers” and cry for their parents to help them return to sleep during the night.

Infant Sleep Tips 

~ Develop regular daytime and bedtime schedules and routines.
~ Create a consistent and enjoyable wind down bedtime routine.
~ Establish a regular “sleep friendly” environment.
~ Encourage baby to fall asleep independently and to become a “self-soother.”

Toddlers (1 – 3 years)

Toddlers need about 12-14 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. When they reach about 18 months of age their naptimes will decrease to once a day lasting about one to three hours. Naps should not occur too close to bedtime as they may delay sleep at night.

Many toddlers experience sleep problems including resisting going to bed and nighttime awakenings, fears and nightmares.

Many factors can lead to sleep problems at this age. Toddlers’ drive for independence and an increase in their motor, cognitive and social abilities can interfere with their sleep. In addition, their ability to get out of bed, separation anxiety, the need for autonomy and the development of the child’s imagination can lead to sleep problems. Daytime sleepiness and behavior problems may signal they are not getting enough sleep.

Toddler Sleep Tips

~ Maintain a daily sleep schedule and consistent bedtime routine.
~ Make the bedroom environment the same every night.
~ Set limits that are consistent, communicated and enforced.
~ Encourage use of a security object such as a blankie, lovey or stuffed animal.

Preschoolers (3-5 years)

Preschoolers typically sleep 11-13 hours each night and most do not nap after five years of age.

As with toddlers, difficulty falling asleep and nighttime wakings are common. With further development of imagination, preschoolers commonly experience nighttime fears and nightmares. In addition, sleepwalking and sleep terrors tend to peak during preschool years.

Preschooler Sleep Tips

~ Maintain a regular and consistent sleep schedule.
~ Have a relaxing bedtime routine that ends in the room where the child sleeps.
~ Child should sleep in the same sleeping environment every night, in a room that is cool, quiet and dark and without a TV.

Grade Schoolers (5 – 12 years)

Children aged five to 12 need 10-11 hours of sleep. At the same time, at this age there is an increasing demand on their time from school, sports and activities.

In addition, school-aged children become more interested in TV, computers, the media and Internet as well as caffeine products. All of which can lead to difficulty falling asleep, nightmares and disruptions to their sleep.

Watching TV close to bedtime has been associated with bedtime resistance, difficulty falling asleep, anxiety around sleep and sleeping fewer hours.

Sleep problems and disorders are common at this age. Poor or inadequate sleep can lead to mood swings, behavioral problems such as hyperactivity and cognitive problems that impact on their ability to learn in school.

School-Aged Children Sleep Tips

~ Teach school-aged children about healthy sleep habits.
~ Continue to emphasize need for regular and consistent sleep schedule and bedtime routine.
~ Make child’s bedroom conducive to sleep – dark, cool and quiet.
~ Keep TV and computers out of the bedroom.
~ Avoid caffeine.

So, I want to know, are your kids getting enough sleep? Comment below with your thoughts!

[Disclosure: I am a part of the Serta blogger program and have received complimentary products to facilitate my reviews. I am also compensated for my time and participation in the program. All opinions are 100% my own.]

4 Comments

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4
  1. 1
    christy says:

    Very interesting! I have a three-year-old and five-year-old, and find these parameters to be right on. My little one gave up naps for about three months just before he turned three, but his 9-10 hours per night weren’t enough shut eye for him. Thankfully, he grew out of the “no nap rebellion” and started snoozing again for about two hours mid-afternoon…it just took three months to get back on schedule!

  2. 2
    jen says:

    Same here Christy – I have a 4 year old – she sleeps about 11 hours a night (no nap.) And my 7 year old sleeps about 10 hours a night.
    Little one could probably definitely use more, but she has refused to nap for awhile now.

  3. 3
    Susanne says:

    The timing of this post couldn’t be better! My girls (4.5 + 6.5) have been trying to pull shenanigans at bedtime lately (I want to sleep in your bed, come tickle my back again, etc) instead of our previous smooth routine. I think we are going to have to get back to a more consistent routine and let ’em know who’s boss! Thanks for the info!

  4. 4
    aimee says:

    I love these tips. Since my kids were babies, getting them to feel comfortable falling asleep on their own has always been a HUGE priority. We spend a lot of time talking about how to get babies to sleep, but I enjoyed reading the recommended sleep (and tips) for older kids as well. Thanks for the post!

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