The amount of sleep required for children varies depending on their age. Here are the general recommendations for the number of hours of sleep children should aim for per night:
- Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours of sleep per day, including naps. Newborns often have irregular sleep patterns and may wake up frequently throughout the night.
- Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours of sleep per day, including naps. By this age, infants start to develop more predictable sleep patterns, with longer stretches of nighttime sleep.
- Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours of sleep per day, including a daytime nap. Most toddlers transition to a single nap during this stage.
- Preschoolers (3-5 years): 10-13 hours of sleep per day, including a daytime nap. Some preschoolers may stop napping altogether during this stage.
- School-age children (6-12 years): 9-12 hours of sleep per night. As children enter school, they often have more structured schedules, and napping becomes less common.
- Teenagers (13-18 years): 8-10 hours of sleep per night. Teenagers typically experience a shift in their internal sleep-wake cycle, which can make it difficult for them to fall asleep early.
A sleep cycle is generally around 90 minutes (or two separate 45 minute cycles for an infant). Quality naps of either 45 or 90 minutes will generally lead to longer stretches of sleep at night. Also, attempting to put the child down for nap before they get too “overtired” will lead to a better ability to fall asleep on their own without help. Then when the child wakes through the night (as they near the awake stage of the sleep cycle) they can generally fall back asleep on their own.
It’s important to note that these are general guidelines, and individual children may have slightly different sleep needs. It’s essential to pay attention to your child’s behavior and adjust their sleep schedule accordingly to ensure they are getting enough rest.