How Much Sleep Do Kids Need? What Can You Do if Your Baby Doesn’t Sleep Enough? Update 05/2024

To ensure your child’s health and well-being, it is critical that they get enough sleep. Good sleep patterns can be formed as early as conception.

It’s possible that children who don’t get enough sleep will have difficulty concentrating during the school day. They may have difficulty falling asleep at night.

How much sleep does my child need?

Each child is an individual. Some people sleep a lot, while others sleep very little. Including both overnight and daytime naps, this chart serves as a basic indication for how much sleep children require in a 24-hour period.

  • Infants (4 to 12 months old):  12-16 hours
  • Toddlers (1 to 2 years old): 11-14 hours
  • Children (3 to 5 years old): 10-13 hours
  • Children (6-12 years):  9-12 hours
  • Teenagers (13-18 years old): 8-10 hours

Babies (birth to 4 months)

As many as 18 hours a day, newborns sleep for three to four hours at a time. Normal and healthy nighttime feedings are common for infants. As your child grows older, you can expect longer spans of awake time during the day and longer stretches of sound sleep at night.
9 Signs Your Baby Isn't Getting Enough Sleep

When it comes to learning when it is time to sleep, babies and adults alike require the appropriate clues. Even if you put your child in their crib every night, he or she is going to learn that this is the place they sleep. Your infant may not comprehend right away, but with time, he or she will.

A more regular nap schedule might be expected after three months, when your baby’s sleep patterns become more predictable. When your baby is tired, he or she will let you know. You may be able to identify their usual sleep schedule by keeping a sleep journal.

It’s a good idea to have a naptime regimen. Before it’s time to sleep, you may read a short story and cuddle in a darkened room.

A good night’s sleep for your baby is essential.

  • Overtired babies have a harder time falling asleep. When it comes to nighttime sleep, a baby who hasn’t napped during the day is more likely to have trouble.
  • Put your infant to bed when they’re sleepy yet awake, and they’ll sleep better. You should always put children to sleep on their backs in their cribs or on a hard, level surface. Keep plush animals and cushions out of the baby’s cot.
  • Is it okay for you to snuggle and rock your baby?? A baby can’t be spoiled just by being held.
  • Your baby may find it easier to relax if they have a pacifier nearby. However, it is preferable to wait until nursing is going well before using a pacifier.
  • At some point throughout the night, your baby will start to wake up and move around. Make sure they have time to calm down on their own before approaching.
  • Feeding and diaper changes at night should be done in a quiet, undisturbed environment. Lights should be kept at a low level.

Infants (4 to 12 months)

It’s usual for your kid to sleep fewer or more than 14 hours a day at this age, but this isn’t a strict rule. At 4 months old, most newborns require three daily naps: one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one in the evening.

Your kid will most likely transition from three short naps a day to two longer naps in the morning and afternoon between the ages of 6 and 12 months. When it comes to sleeping, each infant is unique. As little as 20 minutes of snoozing may be plenty for some people, while others sleep for three or more hours at a time.

A good night’s rest for your baby:

  • As far as possible, stick to a regular daytime and nighttime sleep regimen.
  • Regular nighttime routines are critical. The “3 Bs” (bath, book, and bed) are popular among parents.
  • Never give your child a bottle to sleep with. Tooth decay may result as a result of this.
  • Keep an eye out for signs of discomfort, such as a cold or overheated body temperature, but don’t remove your infant from the crib unless absolutely necessary. By touching their forehead or speaking softly, you can let them know you’re there and that you care. Self-soothing is a vital part of getting your infant back to sleep on their own.

Toddlers (1 to 2 years)

In a 24-hour period, most children sleep between 11 and 14 hours.

Toddlers should be taught good sleep habits:

  • There is no substitute for maintaining an established bedtime routine for your child. It’s even more critical for your child to maintain the schedule you established throughout the first year.
  • Avoid late-afternoon naps, as they can interfere with the child’s ability to sleep at night.
  • Stories and calm activities might help your youngster get ready for bed approximately 30 minutes before it’s time to go to sleep.
  • If your youngster complains, be kind but firm.
  • Keep the bedroom calm, warm, and conducive to restful sleep by, for example, dimming the overhead lights.
  • Some people find solace in listening to lullabies or other calming instrumental music.
  • At this age, having a comfort item (such a blanket or stuffed animal) is common.

How much sleep do kids need?

Children (3 to 5 years)

The average amount of sleep a preschooler gets per day is between ten and thirteen hours. By the time they are three, most children only need one nap a day, although some will take a second one later in the day. They may require a nap on some days, but not on others. A lot of kids don’t nap at all at this time. After lunch, you can give your youngster some quiet time to read or rest.

If your child is having trouble sleeping, it’s not unusual for this age group. Their nighttime worries or dreams may also cause them to awaken.

Preschoolers should be taught good sleep habits:

  • Don’t give your youngster caffeine-heavy beverages, such as soda or energy drinks.
  • Before you go to sleep, turn off all of your electronic devices. Do not allow computers, iPads, televisions, or video games in the bedroom.
  • Some children will try to put off going to sleep for as long as possible. Let your youngster know what the parameters are, such as how many books you’ll read together.
  • Give your child a sense of safety by tucking him/her into bed close to you.
  • Don’t disregard your anxieties before going to sleep. Reassure and soothe them if your child suffers from nightmares.

Why Do Babies Sleep so Much?

Babies sleep for more than half of the day because they are undergoing rapid physical and mental development. Sleep is essential for brain development, as it helps the construction of new neural networks and the consolidation of existing ones. A baby’s physical growth and development are also aided by enough sleep and nourishment.

Is It Normal For Babies To Take Naps?

Babies frequently take naps throughout the day, which allows them to get some of their recommended amount of sleep for the night. Even while the total amount of time spent napping declines with age, newborns often continue to sleep for at least 2-3 hours each day.

Napping is not only normal, but it also has numerous advantages. Infants’ ability to retain specific memories is thought to be enhanced by the regularity with which they take naps. As a result, naps help to establish more generalized memory, which is essential for learning and brain growth.

When Do Babies Start to Sleep Through the Night?

Having a baby can be an eye-opening experience for individuals who are accustomed to sleeping for seven to nine hours a night without interruption. Most of their time is spent asleep, yet even newborns and babies rarely sleep through the night without awakening.

When a baby reaches six months of age, it is widely accepted that he or she will be more likely to sleep through the night. Research has also shown that this landmark’s exact date is quite variable.

When it takes longer for a baby to start sleeping through the night, parents worry. However, this study demonstrated that a baby’s physical or mental development was unaffected by not being able to sleep for longer consecutive periods as an infant.

The importance of newborns sleeping through the night has not been shown to outweigh the importance of total daily sleep duration for infants to this point in their development.

If you’re concerned about your baby’s frequent nightly awakenings, talk to the pediatrician who knows him or her best. There are steps parents may take to encourage longer periods of uninterrupted nighttime sleep.

How Much Sleep Do Premature Babies Need?

Many premature babies require more sleep than full-term babies. Premature infants commonly sleep for the most of the day or night. Depending on how early they were born and how healthy they are, the quantity of sleep a preterm baby gets varies widely.

Preemies’ sleep habits begin to mirror those of full-term infants during the first 12 months, but in the meanwhile, they tend to get more total sleep, lighter sleep, and less consistent sleep overall.

How Does Feeding Affect Sleep for Babies?

Whether or not the technique of feeding a baby impacts their sleep has been debated in the medical community for some time. While some studies have revealed that breastfed kids are more likely to wake up throughout the night, others have found no difference in the sleep habits of breastfed and formula-fed children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advocates breastfeeding exclusively for six months and then continuing with supplemental breastfeeding for a year or longer because of the demonstrated health benefits, including better sleep, that breastfeeding provides. There is some evidence that infants who are breastfed may sleep better in their early years of life.

What Can You Do if Your Baby Doesn’t Sleep Enough?

If you’re worried about your baby’s sleep, go to your pediatrician first. Keep a sleep journal for your child to assist the doctor evaluate if the sleep pattern of your infant is normal or if it indicates a possible sleeping problem.

For infants who have difficulty sleeping through the night, behavioral modifications may help them sleep longer. There are many ways to help a baby sleep better, such as minimizing how quickly they respond to wakings and gradually putting back their bedtimes.

Creating a consistent sleep schedule and habit, as well as ensuring that the infant sleeps in a peaceful and quiet environment, can help promote sleep hygiene. Suffocation and the sudden infant death syndrome can both be prevented with proper infant sleep hygiene (SIDS).

What are some common sleep problems?

  • There are some children who aren’t getting enough sleep because of their parents’ schedules. In the event that your youngster is moody, unruly, or unable to fall asleep at night, it may be because they aren’t receiving enough sleep or aren’t getting up early enough.
  • Your youngster may have a hard time falling asleep if they are worried that you are not nearby. Before you put them to bed, try a long cuddle, a comfort object like a blanket or stuffed animal, or leaving their door open.
  • Nightmares: Nearly all youngsters, at some point, will have nightmares. There are a variety of possible triggers for nightmares, the most common of which are anxiety or a high temperature. If your child needs your support, he or she may come to you. As you speak to your child, be patient and reassuring.

When should I talk to my doctor?

  • Loud snoring can be an indication that something is wrong if it occurs on a frequent basis in your child.
  • During the night, a child with sleepwalking may be partially awake, but not fully awake. Repetitive actions, such rubbing their eyes, may be performed by your child while they sleep. They might stand up and take a stroll around the space. The majority of the time, your youngster isn’t going to respond to your questions. If your youngster is prone to sleepwalking, make sure the environment is secure. Avoid rousing your youngster by gently leading them back to bed. Contact your doctor if the issue persists.
  • This is not the same as having nightmares. Children that suffer from night terrors scream and breathe rapidly, and they appear to be awake. If you awaken your child in the middle of the night, they are more likely to be agitated and take longer to go asleep again. It is common for children between the ages of 4 and 12 to suffer from night terrors, but they can also affect youngsters as young as 18 months old. Most children outgrow them, but it’s always best to check up with your doctor if your child continues to have them.

What if my child regularly has trouble falling asleep?

Some children have a hard time going asleep on their own and can be awake for hours at a time.. Caffeine from soda and energy drinks, as well as excessive screen time before night, may be to blame.

  • Make sure your child isn’t spending too much time in front of a television or playing video games before going to sleep.
  • Do not allow your youngster to ingest or consume any caffeine-based products.
  • Relaxing activities before bed, such as reading, listening to calming music, or laying in bed with your child talking quietly about their day, can help your child fall asleep more easily.

Make an appointment with your pediatrician if none of these factors apply to your child’s sleep issues.

Sleep For Young Children: How Much Sleep Does My Child Need? Are Naps Necessary? | Texas Children's Hospital

8 easy tips for healthier sleep habits

  1. Your youngster should get at least 10 or 11 hours of rest each night, so plan accordingly. Make bedtime 15 to 20 minutes earlier every few days if your child isn’t getting to bed early enough.
  2. Set a consistent bedtime. A 30 to 45-minute difference between your child’s bedtime and wake-up time on weeknights and weekends is considered a reasonable range.
  3. One week before to the start of school, establish a regular wake-up time.
  4. Create a relaxing and sleep-inducing nighttime ritual for your child, even if they are older.
  5. To ensure a good night’s sleep, turn off all electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime.
  6. The second half of the day is a good time to avoid coffee and sugary drinks like soda.
  7. The best way to help your child wind down for bedtime is to make sure he or she is getting enough physical activity. At least one hour of physical activity is recommended. According to Dr. Shah, “exposure to natural light helps maintain your child’s circadian rhythm in sync” when playing outside in the morning.
  8. Setting a good example by prioritizing your own sleep is crucial, as it is with many other habits.


What Is the Best Bedtime for My Child?

Depending on a child’s age, the appropriate bedtime can vary widely. Young children tend to go to bed sooner than older children because the required amount of sleep for children typically declines with age. When it comes to healthy sleep hygiene, ensuring that your child goes to bed and wakes up at the same time may be more important than when they do so.

Also keep in mind that people’s views on bedtime can differ from one culture to the next. Parents in other cultural groups may allow their children to stay up later at night, whilst some cultures place an emphasis on going to bed early.

What if My Child Is Not Getting Enough Sleep?

To ensure that children get a good night’s rest, parents should remember that minor deviations from age-specific sleep length recommendations are not uncommon.

To be on the safe side, go to your child’s pediatrician or family doctor if their sleep patterns seem off or if they have difficulties sleeping for no apparent reason. It is possible that your child is suffering from a treatable sleep issue or medical condition that is preventing them from getting adequate rest.

When it comes to helping your child obtain a good night’s sleep, there are several things you can do. Consistent bedtimes, keeping electronics out of their bedrooms and scheduling time for physical activity during the day are just a few of the ways parents may help their children get a good night’s sleep. Parents who model healthy habits and good sleep hygiene can frequently inspire their children to do the same.

Should My Child Be Napping?

Naps account for the majority of the necessary daily sleep time for children under the age of 5. Because young children frequently do not sleep through the night, daytime naps are essential for ensuring that they get enough sleep to function normally throughout the course of a 24-hour period.

The benefits of snoozing during the day for young children have been well documented. Daytime sleep requirements of children alter with age, and by the time they reach the age of five, most children have stopped napping.

As a parent, you may be able to tell when your child is ready to quit napping. Alternatively, if they appear drowsy or fitful during the day, it may be too early to stop the nap. Your youngster may need to be put to bed earlier if they have stopped napping.

How Do I Know if My Child Is Getting Enough Sleep?

Crying and wiping of the eyes are common indicators of exhaustion in children under the age of two. Sleep deprivation or insufficiency can worsen in youngsters as they get older. Among them:

  • Trouble getting up in the mornings.
  • Under-eye circles are a problem for them.
  • Tiredness or lack of energy during the daytime hours.
  • Mood swings and irritability are common.
  • Inability to pay attention or concentrate.
  • Lateness or absences from school are examples of behavioral issues.

Do Teenagers Need as Much Sleep as Adults?

Teens should sleep eight to ten hours per night, which is slightly more than the seven to nine hours per night advised for adults and young adults. Because of work, school, and social obligations, many teenagers are unable to maintain an eight-hour workday. Over the past few decades, the amount of time teens spend sleeping has decreased, according to polls.

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