How Much Sleep Do Kids Really Need?

Even if it seems like something mom and dad need most, good sleep is essential for every kid as well. Quality sleep can improve attention spans, better behavior, support learning and memory function, and benefit almost all areas of both mental and physical health. Lack of sleep, on the other hand, can do the exact opposite.

So, how much sleep do kids really need and how can you help them achieve this great feat? We’ll look into all the details in the post below:

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels

How Much Sleep Each Age Group Needs

How much sleep do kids really need? The exact amounts vary greatly by the age of your child. Below, we’ll look into the specifics for every age group. The suggested hours of sleep are per 24 hours, including both naps and nighttime rest:

  • Infants 4-12 Months Old: 12-16 hours per day/night
  • Toddlers 1-2 Years Old: 11-14 hours per day/night
  • Younger Children 3-5 Years Old: 10-12 hours per day/night
  • Older Children 6-12 Years Old: 9-12 hours at night
  • Teenagers 13-18 Years Old: 8-10 hours at night

Do these numbers seem high to you? It’s because they are! Our little ones (and big kids, too) need plenty of rest to grow healthily and happily throughout their childhood years.

Healthy Sleep Habits for Kids to Try

So, our kids need a lot of sleep. How can we help make sure they’re reaching their minimum daily amount? A few simple tricks can support almost every kid to rest more at nap time and nighttime alike:

  • Make a Routine — Predictability doesn’t just help our kids listen well, it benefits our childrens’ bodies, too. When kids go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day, their bodies know what to expect. Having a schedule to work through before laying down can help remind our children’s bodies that rest time is quickly approaching, too. Include actions like brushing teeth, putting on pajamas, reading books, and talking through the day as part of your pattern. P.S. — The same is true about sleep and routines for adults, so don’t forget to set a sleep routine for yourself, too.
  • Get Plenty of Exercise — Our kids need to move, and when they don’t get the chance, it can be more difficult for them to wind down at the end of the day. Try to include plenty of movement in your child’s schedule to ensure they’ll be ready to rest when nighttime rolls around. Don’t bring exercise too close to bedtime, though, as calming activities work best for quieting little bodies down.
  • Turn Off Devices — The blue lights in our devices can make it difficult for kids to drift off after a long day. This is because they take away from our body’s natural ability to produce melatonin and serotonin — two hormones that aid in everyone’s sleep. Try to stop screen time at least one hour before bedtime to avoid this effect on your children’s brains.
  • Keep Things Fun — Bedtime doesn’t have to be a bad word in your house. Try to talk to your kids about the benefits of healthy sleep and add a few fun pieces to your nightly routine. If bedtime has perks that are worth looking forward to, your child may not protest quite as much when it occurs. Time to Wake clocks, special lovies, and sticker charts for staying in bed are all fun sleepy time additions for your young kids at home.

It’s clear that our kids need quality sleep, and luckily, there are plenty of options to help them get there. Try a few tips from the list above to ensure your children’s nightly habits are as healthy as can be. Their growing minds are sure to thank you for it!