How much sleep do babies and kids need? These rules for parents have the answer

It’s the question that plagues parents everywhere – how much sleep should my baby or kids be having anyway? Here’s what the medical experts say.

For the first time, doctors from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine have crunched the numbers and revealed exactly how much babies and children of each age need to sleep for good health.

Dr Shalini Paruthi, Pediatric Consensus Panel moderator and fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, says it’s crucial for children to develop good sleep habits. And she says sleeping too much can be just as bad for a child’s health as too little sleep.

“Sleep is essential for a healthy life, and it is important to promote healthy sleep habits in early childhood,” Dr Paruthi says.

“It is especially important as children reach adolescence to continue to ensure that teens are able to get sufficient sleep.”

sleeping toddler

According to the panel’s research, children who get enough sleep are better behaved and find it easier to regulate their emotions. They also have improved attention, learning, memory, quality of life, and mental and physical health.

But not getting enough sleep can lead to attention, behaviour and learning problems. It may even increase the risk of accidents, hypertension, obesity, diabetes and depression.

Interestingly, sleeping too much can also lead to diabetes, obesity and mental problems, the research shows.

Here’s what the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends:

Infants aged four to 12 months

Should sleep 12 to 16 hours per 24 hours, including naps

Children aged one to two years

Need between 11 to 14 hours sleep per 24 hours, including naps

Children aged three to five years

Should be getting 10 to 13 hours sleep per 24 hours, including naps

Children aged six to 12 years

Needs nine to 12 hours sleep per 24 hours

Teenagers aged 13 to 18 years

Should be getting between eight and 10 hours sleep per 24 hours

How does this compare to the amount of time your babies and kids’ sleep each night? For more sleep advice and sleep-related resources, take a look in our archives.

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