How much sleep do kids really need?


Most parents know what happens when their kids don’t get enough sleep, but many don’t realize how much sleep their kids actually need during each stage of growth.

No matter how old they are, most parents know what happens when their kids don’t get enough sleep – irritability, fussiness, forgetfulness, increased stress and difficulty concentrating, to name a few “side effects”. However, many of us don’t realize how much sleep our kids actually need during each stage of growth, or the long-term effects that can happen if they don’t get the sleep they need.

“Even losing just one hour of sleep can change a child’s mood, function and ability to pay attention,” said Dr. Hope Kurk, District Medical Group Pediatrician at Valleywise Health. “We’re now starting to discover that over time, lack of sleep can lead to a number of serious health issues including depression, anxiety, increased blood pressure and inflammation.”

Dr. Hope Kurk, District Medical Group Pediatrician at Valleywise Health

Babies, children and teenagers need more sleep than adults to support their growing brains and bodies. Sleep needs vary among each child, but there are some general guidelines that can help parents stay on the right track, according to the National Sleep Foundation:

Ages 1-2

Toddlers typically need between 11 and 14 hours of sleep every day. Most of this occurs at night, but most kids this age still need a one to three-hour nap.

Ages 3-5

Preschool-age children usually need 10 to 13 hours of sleep every day. At age three, many kids are still napping, but most stop napping by age five.

Ages 6-13

During the elementary and early middle school years, kids typically need nine to 11 hours of sleep each night.

Ages 14-19

Teens usually get about seven hours of sleep, but we’re finding that they actually need as much as nine-and-a-half hours of sleep each night.

 

Every child is different, so take time to figure out what works best for your child. If your child continues to have difficulty sleeping, make an appointment with a Valleywise Health pediatrician near you by calling 1-833-VLLYWSE (855-9973).

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