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How much sleep do children need?

Richard Kravitz, MD
Pediatrics
While there is no magic number for the amount of sleep a child is supposed to get, rules of thumb are that he or she should fall asleep 10 to 15 minutes after getting into bed and should wake up feeling refreshed. Keep in mind that infants need more sleep than young children, and that teenagers need close to 9-10 hours of sleep. While many parents attribute their teen's moodiness to hormones and age, research suggests that many teens are actually just sleep deprived, with most teens are not getting anywhere close to the necessary amount of sleep each night that their bodies require.
Below I have provided recommended sleep times from the National Sleep Foundation for children and added my suggested bedtimes based on a 7 a.m. wake time:

  • 1-3 years: 12-14 hours of sleep, 8 p.m. bedtime, with naps during the day (60-90 minutes)
  • 3-5 years: 11-13 hours of sleep, 7:30 p.m. bedtime, with no naps
  • 5-8 years: 10-11 hours of sleep, 8 p.m. bedtime
  • 8-11 years: 10-11 hours of sleep, 9 p.m. bedtime



Dawn Marcus
Neurology
Sleep patterns changes with age. Newborn babies generally sleep most of the time. They usually sleep between 8 and 10 hours during the day and another 8 to 10 hours during the night. By 6 months, sleep usually decreases to about 14 hours a day. After reaching age 1 and until school starts, most kids need 10 to 12 hours of sleep each day. Even though they may give up an afternoon nap, preschool-aged kids still need about 10 to 12 hours of sleep a night. Once they start school, most kids need about 10 hours each night. Teenagers still need more than 9 hours of sleep each night. Unfortunately for them and their parents, teens usually have to get up earlier to catch the school bus and prefer to stay up late chatting with friends and watching movies. (You parents of teens - good luck!) Adults need a little less sleep, about 7 to 8 hours each night.
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Here’s how much sleep kids need according to age:

  • Birth to 12 months old: 14 to 16 hours per day
  • 1 to 3 years old: 12 to 14 hours per day
  • 3 to 6 years old: 10 to 12 hours per day
  • 7 to 12 years old: 10 to 11 hours per day
  • 12 to 18 years old: 8 to 9 hours per day

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    The time period a baby sleeps certainly depends upon their age. As newborns, they spend a good part of their day sleeping -- usually up to 16 or 18 hours a day. That slowly decreases as they get older to where a child going to school would sleep 10 to maybe 12 hours a day. So it's a slow decrease over the years as they get older.
    Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
    Internal Medicine

    Although each child is different, here are some ballpark numbers to aim for in helping your child get enough sleep:

    • One to four weeks old: fifteen to sixteen hours a day
    • One to twelve months old: fourteen to fifteen hours a day
    • One to three years old: twelve to fourteen hours a day
    • Three to six years old: ten to twelve hours a day
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    Whitney  Roban, PhD
    Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics

    The amount of sleep that children need changes as they grow, but it is usually more than parents think their children need.  Here is a good sleep schedule chart:

    4 months of age: 11-12 hours of uninterrupted night sleep combined with a total of 3 hours of daytime sleep (usually broken down into 3 naps per day, each nap length 1 hour)

    1 year old: 11-12 hours of uninterrupted night sleep combined with a total of 3 hours of daytime sleep (usually broken down into 2 naps per day, each nap length 1 1/2 hours).  The nap transition from 3 to 2 naps happens anywhere from 6-9 months of age.

    2 years old: 11-12 hours of uninterrupted night sleep combined with a total of 2 hours of daytime sleep, usually taken in 1 nap per day.

    3 years old: 11-12 hours of uninterrupted night sleep combined with a total of 1 - 1/2 hours of daytime sleep.

    4 years old: 11-12 hours of uninterrupted night sleep.  Some 4 years olds still nap 1 hour per day, but most have given up the day nap by this age.

    5 & 6 years old: 11-12 hours of uninterrupted night sleep.

    7-11 years old: 10-11 hours of uninterrupted night sleep.

    12 years old - teenagers: 9-10 hours of unterrupted night sleep.

     

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    Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.