How Much Sleep at What Age
Being a new mom, I must have googled how much sleep my child should be getting at least ten times in the first four weeks of his life. He would not wake up during the day to eat no matter what we did, and I remember being so scared that he was sleeping too much! Baby turns four months next week, and that definitely isn't our problem anymore. In fact, I'm pretty sure my son could win awards for his ability to fight sleep. Does any one else have a child that turns into a boxer at night? The nights when I get punched repeatedly in the face by his swinging arms fighting sleep, I fondly look back on the days when he slept so peacefully all the time. So, the big question is, how much sleep should your child be getting? There's an awesome guide to sleep on our Pinterest Board from the National Sleep Foundation. You can see it here! It breaks down sleep starting with newborns and going through adulthood. Here's a quick cheat sheet:
Children 0-2 months should be getting 12-18 hours of sleep a day. The guide by the National Sleep Foundation also points out that sleep needs definitely vary by individual though. My son was always on the higher side of that. In fact, a lot of days he slept over 20 hours and our pediatrician certainly wasn't concerned as long as he was gaining weight.
Children 3-11 months should be getting 14-15 hours a day. I think this is probably the time that most parents are concerned with sleep! Not necessarily too much sleep, but the beacon of light we all desperately want to reach: "sleeping through the night". Some babies are naturals and start sleeping longer stretches after 8 weeks, and some children are still waking up every 2-3 hours long into infancy. I thought my son was going to be in the latter group as he was a terrible sleeper. Some nights I was lucky if we even made it 2 hours. We found a few tips that helped baby sleep longer at night, most of which are in Sleep Training Basics which is a must read! We are having many more days where we wake up in the morning and the sun is shining, birds are chirping, and we realize our son slept from 9 to 7am. Those are beautiful mornings, but of course parenting can't be that easy right? I figure we have about one more week until the four month sleep regression and teething comes in and ruins it all.
Children between the ages of 1-3 years should be getting 12-14 hours a day. At this age, most children are sleeping through the night, and sleep concerns shift from night time to nap time during the day. This is definitely the age where more established routines are going to make a huge difference! This is also a time where lack of sleep is very evident. Toddlers minds are busy creating, and constantly moving, and having the right amount of sleep will help them greatly in their development and improving their moods (if that's possible for a toddler).
Children between the ages of 3 and 5 should be getting 11-13 hours a day. Not too much has changed in the number of hours between a toddler and a preschooler. These children are still on the move and busy creating. Their minds are discovering new things every day and asking a million questions to understand everything! It's important that children this age are still taking naps and getting adequate sleep at night.
School Age Children
Children between the ages of 5-10 years should be getting 10-11 hours a day. Children this age are no longer napping during the day and spending lots of hours expanding their minds in a classroom and out on the playground. Bedtime routines are probably quite the struggle at this age, but ensuring children get the proper amount of sleep at night will help them stay alert and focused for all their learning during the day and numerous after school activities!
Kids between the ages of 11-17 years should be getting 8.5-9.5 hours. I don't know many teenagers that don't get this amount of sleep on a regular basis... unless they're staying up late texting. They make for it on the weekends though, right? Teenagers are very busy, and those that are involved in sports need proper sleep at night. Teenagers brains are developing at incredibly rapid rates, just like the brain of an infant, and they need proper sleep to aid in that development, help stabilize moods (again, if that's possible for a teenager..), improve athletic performance, and keep them focused during the day.
Adults should be getting 7-9 hours a day. Just like with teens, adults need the right amount of sleep to help maintain a healthy weight, stabilize moods, improve physical performance, and improve focus. (as a new mom I'm throwing my head back and laughing hysterically at this) Sleep is vital to children's development, and it's important for Adults to get the right amount of sleep as well. If you're worried about how much your child is sleeping at any age, this is a great quick reference! Good luck fellow parents, and may you have a full nights rest in your near future!