Sleep is an important part of all of our lives, but this is especially true for children. Without adequate sleep, the body doesn’t have an opportunity to recharge, which can lead to developmental problems. According to a study conducted by the University of Helsinki, Finland, experts now believe that a lack of sleep (less than 7.7 hours a day) can cause hyperactive and/or inattentive behavior in children. In this article, we will answer the question, “How much sleep do children need?“
How much sleep do children need?
Depending on the age of your child, the amount of sleep he or she requires for a healthy lifestyle will differ. With the hectic lifestyle that most of us lead, it can be difficult for parents to put forth a specific bedtime, but it is an important step in ensuring that your child receives adequate sleep each and every night. A regular bedtime and pre-sleep routine should be in place for every child to promote healthy sleep habits at a young age.
The recommended sleep requirements for children of toddler age (1 – 3 years):
Toddler age children require a minimum of 12 – 14 hours of sleep each day. For obvious reasons, most children cannot get this much sleep in one night. To help your child reach his or his sleep requirement, try to fit in at least one nap during the daytime. This will help “recharge the batteries” mid-day and prevent overstimulation or extreme fatigue at night.
The recommended sleep requirements for children of preschool age (3 – 5 years):
Preschool age children require slightly less sleep than a toddler. Most children ages 3 – 5 years will require a minimum of 11 – 13 hours of sleep each day. To the chagrin of most parents, many children will not willingly take a daytime nap at this age. If your child refuses to sleep at naptime, he or she should rest for a minimum of one hour each afternoon.
The recommended sleep requirements for children ages 5 – 12 years of age:
When children reach school age, their stress level can increase significantly. Between homework, extra curricular activities and time with friends, sleep can be placed on the bottom of the list of “things to do.” However, sleep is an essential part of your child’s development, and children between the ages of 5 – 12 years should receive a minimum of 10 hours of sleep each night to be well rested.
Promoting Good Sleep Habits for Your Child
To help your child receive a good night’s sleep every night, follow this simple advice:
– Do not allow computer use at least two hours before bedtime.
– Set a bedtime and stick to it.
– Create a pre-bedtime ritual and follow through with it nightly.
– Do not allow your child to consume caffeine at night.
– Use light-blocking shades or curtains to create a dark sleep environment.
– Do not allow your child to fall asleep while watching television.
Personal knowledge and experience