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How Much Sleep Do Kids Need?

23 August 2022

Good health contributes a great deal to having a fun and enjoyable childhood. And it is every parent’s desire for their child to maintain excellent well-being and stay happy. After all, kids are an absolute joy to watch when they are full of life and energy.

You have probably wondered how your younger ones remain bundles of energy almost every time. Of course, food comes to mind first - or it might even take all the credit. But the truth is sleep is almost as important as nutrition when it comes to a child’s wellness.

Like adults, sleep forms the bedrock of good health in children. It helps kids recuperate lost energy and plays a huge role in their development. However, some parents still do not know the amount of sleep their child needs to stay healthy and sharp.

For this reason, we’ve curated this piece to discuss how much sleep kids need at each stage of childhood and the benefits of getting their required amount of rest.

How Many Hours of Sleep Does Your Child Need?

Generally, the number of sleep hours that kids need is not set in stone. It is a range that constantly shifts, depending on the age of each child. Even though the amount of rest children need may decrease as they grow older, the importance of sufficient nightly sleep remains unchanged.

Newborns, for example, require more rest than other children age groups, needing between 14 to 17 hours of sleep daily; this is because newly-born babies don’t have a developed circadian rhythm - a part of the body’s internal clock. Hence, they have their sleeping periods scattered throughout the day and night.

At the stage of infancy, which falls between the 4th month till the 12th month - after birth, your child’s sleep hours may reduce. Within a 24-hour period, infants sleep for a total duration of 12 to 15 hours. That said,  by the time they are a year old, your child’s circadian rhythm must have fully developed, enabling them to follow nighttime sleep routines.

Furthermore, toddlers - who are between 1 year to 2 years of age - need to sleep for 11 to 14 hours per day. These hours of sleep usually include daytime naps, which are pretty essential for children, especially in their formative years. Sleeping during the day helps kids develop excellent cognitive function and memory health.

Now, when children reach the age of 3 to 5, their need to nap during the day decreases gradually, and they begin to get most of their rest from nightly sleep, which should be between 10 to 13 hours. At this stage, it is advisable you integrate a suitable bedtime routine that will ease your younger one to sleep at night. Some elements of a good bedtime routine are bathing, brushing teeth, reading a book, singing, and so on.

The recommended hours of sleep for school-age children (6 to 12 years) are between 9 to 12 hours. Kids within this age range get most of their sleep at night. Having said that, it must also be noted that daytime naps can still do much good for children in this age group. In fact, different studies have found that kids in elementary schools with designated nap periods tend to be in a better mood, perform excellently in their academics, and have a lower risk of emotional or behavioural issues.

That said, school-age children in the early stages of puberty often experience disrupted sleep, causing significant changes to their sleep patterns. As a result, you may hear your pubescent child complain of tiredness during the day.

Teenagers require at least 8 hours of sleep every day. However, the reduced sleep quality - which begins at early puberty - may continue in teenage kids, although for various other reasons. Factors like academic pressure, social influence, lifestyle, and so on can affect the sleep pattern of teenagers.

4 Amazing Benefits of Adequate Sleep in Your Child

As has been said, getting sufficient restful sleep is vital for the growth and development of a child. Also, studies show that quality sleep can help your folk do better at school, with friends, and in their overall affairs. Below are four reasons why your kid needs adequate rest.

1. Enhances Growth

Sleep helps promote growth in children; this has been scientifically proven by increased growth hormone secretion during deep sleep. In fact, Italian researchers found that children with growth hormone deficiency sleep less deeply than average kids.

Luckily, newborns typically spend 70% of their daily hours sleeping deeply. So, you may not have to worry about their growth hormone levels. But, for your infants, toddlers, and older kids, try to ensure that they get quality rest each time they sleep.

2. Improves Brain Development

As inferred earlier, getting enough rest helps enhance the cognitive function and memory health of your child. But that's not all - proper sleep also improves concentration, problem-solving skills, and academic performance in both young ones and adults.

3. Controls Weight

Lack of sleep induces an increase in ghrelin secretion and a reduction in leptin levels. Ghrelin is a hunger hormone, but leptin signals when the stomach is full; this explains why sleep-deprived children, like adults, have a larger appetite than other children.

Studies even show that children who lack restful sleep usually have an affinity for higher-fat and higher-calorie foods. Moreover, sleep-deprived young ones tend to burn fewer calories, as they may feel too tired to move around.

So, encouraging and assisting your kids in sleeping well will help them keep their weight in check.

4. Enhances Immune System

Science proves that getting sufficient sleep can help improve your younger one’s immune system. A particular study, for instance, found that individuals who slept fewer hours per night are more likely to develop a cold than those who sleep the recommended hours.

Further studies even show that adequate sleep can improve the body’s response to vaccines. In essence, your child’s sleep quality influences their ability to keep diseases at bay.

Final Thoughts

The importance of adequate sleep can not be overemphasized, especially for children. Notably, it contributes to their overall well-being at different stages of childhood.

That said, understanding the amount of sleep your child needs is crucial to ensuring that they get sufficient rest.