As adults, we need at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night in order to feel rested and be able to take on the day. But, what about children? Do infants and newborns need more or less sleep than toddlers and young children? The truth is that there is definitely a difference in sleep needs for just about every stage of development. Let’s go over some recommendations today in order to see if your child is getting the right amount of sleep each night for their age.
This may come as no surprise, but newborns need a TON of sleep. They are pretty much eating and sleeping (and pooping!) experts from day one. They need a lot of sleep because they are growing so quickly and finishing their development that started in the womb. Newborns should be getting at least 16 to 18 hours of sleep each day/night cycle (or 24 hours), but it could be higher than that, depending on your child and their individual needs and makeup. Your newborn should be sleeping and waking to feed about every three hours. It is important that they get fed quickly and prepared to go back to sleep with a predictable cycle.
4 To 6 Months Old
For this age group, they should be sleeping a little less than is recommended for newborns. In Our practice we generally see four to six month olds averaging around 14-16 hours of sleep per 24 hours. This is also the time period that they will be sleeping more during the night time and less during the day as they get used to our own daylight and sleep patterns.
6 To 9 Months Old
If your little one is between the ages of 6 months to a year old, then they still need less sleep each day, which is nice. They need between 13 and 15 hours of sleep each day, which includes a full nights rest and two to three naps. It should work out to about 11-12 hours of sleep at night and 3 to 4 hours of naps during the day. Their sleep cycles will be very much helped by putting them down for naps at the same time each day if at all possible in order to help them develop a pattern for predictable sleep/wake periods.
Eighteen Months To Two Years And Beyond
Children between 18 months and 2 years of age should be getting an average of 12 to 13.5 hours of sleep each day. It should break down to about 11-12 hours at night (hopefully!) and 1.5-2 hours of naps during the day. Some days your child’s naps may be longer or shorter, but it should average out over time. It is important to help keep your child on a consistent sleep schedule so that they will be prepared each night to get to sleep easily and without fuss or protest. It may seem like a hassle at first, but you will be grateful to not have to have a struggle every night when it comes close to bedtime.