Children need different amounts of sleep at different life stages

By Rebecca Burton • Published: September 16th, 2016
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Parents know that nap time is crucial to their young child’s well-being. But how much snoozing is enough? According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, it depends on your child’s age.

The group recently issued sleep guidelines for each age range. The recommendations follow a 10-month project conducted by a panel of 13 sleep specialists nationwide. The experts reviewed 863 published scientific journal articles that studied the relationship between sleep duration and health in children and adolescents.

The findings, published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, showed that babies between 4 and 12 months old should get 12 to 16 hours per day, including naps. Toddlers age 1 to 2 years old should sleep 11 to 14 hours per day, including naps. Children between the ages of 3 and 5 need 10 to 13 hours of sleep, including naps. For kids age 6 to 12 years old, nine to 12 hours of sleep is ideal. Teenagers who are 13 to 17 years old should sleep eight to 10 hours.

Researchers found that following recommended sleep schedules helps ensure improved attention span, learning and memory, quality of life, and mental and physical health. The study also showed that a lack of sleep among teenagers was associated with an increased risk of suicide.

On the contrary, sleeping more than the recommended number of hours of sleep can lead to a higher risk of hypertension, diabetes and obesity, so it’s important to find the right balance.

To make sure you and your family are getting enough quality sleep time, following an evening routine, turning off electronics at night and getting regular exercise can help make bedtime a breeze.