How Much Sleep Does My Child Need?

Many parents fight daily battles with their children over sleep, whether the children are infants, elementary school age, or teenagers.  We all know that a sleepy child will not perform as well in school, and researchers are learning more every day about the role sleep plays in learning among infants and older children.  But how much sleep IS enough?  Here’s a reference guide developed by the National Sleep Foundation:

  • Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours
  • Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours
  • Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours
  • Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours
  • School-Age Children (6-13): 9-11 hours
  • Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours
  • Young Adults (18-25): 7-9 hours

These numbers refer to total sleep in a 24-hour period, which includes naps for the younger children.  Additionally, bear in mind that these are merely guidelines, as your child may need slightly more or slightly less.  Consistency in sleep is just as important as number of hours. If you have a child that sleeps only four hours three days out of the week and then sleeps 14 hours four days out of the week, there could be a sleep disorder caused by the lack of sleep consistency.

So, how do you get your child to sleep more?  The answer may be in creating a better sleep routine that involves a wind-down period and a bedtime story.  Read more in our article on setting a family bedtime routine.