How many hours should my child sleep on a daily basis?

Naps allow you, the parent, or a caregiver, to take a break during the day.  It also gives you your time back to tackle household chores or just to unwind.

According to kidshealth.org:

Sleep is a big part of a child's good health. For young kids to get enough of it, most need some daytime sleep. Naps help kids from becoming overtired, which can affect their moods and make it harder for them to fall asleep at night.

  • Toddlers (Age 1-3) need 12-14 hours of sleep, including an afternoon nap of 1-3 hours.
  • Preschoolers (Age 3-5) average 11-12 hours of sleep at night, plus and afternoon nap.

Naptime Routines

  • Setup a good routine early on and stick with it
  • Watch for cues like fussing, rubbing eyes and nodding heads. Putting them to bed before they fall asleep teaches them how to fall asleep by themselves.
  • Soft music, dim lights and a quiet story or rhyme help ease the transition to sleep and become a source of comfort for the child
  • As children get older let them read books quietly in their room letting them know that the Nodder will still leave a treat outside the door.

Five Benefits of Naps

  1. Naps aid in Emotional Development
    The PsychCentral.com study found a 34% decrease in positive emotional response among tired toddlers who didn't nap

  2. Sleep helps preschoolers learn
    According to a National Institutes of Health study, encouraging preschool- aged children to rest in the classroom can enhance their learning and memory.

  3. Daytime rests means better nighttime rest
    A lack of daytime downtime could make your toddler overtired and irritable, and also make it tougher to get them down for a longer sleep at night.

  4. Rest gives your child needed downtime
    As parents we sometimes overschedule a child's day as they get older, taking away their time to enjoy their own company.

  5. Tired can lead to tantrums
    Livestrong.com states tantrums can be caused by a lack of sleep, and those children who have regular naps can be more irritable when they miss a nap.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued a Statement of Endorsement supporting the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) guidelines outlining recommended sleep duration for children from infants to teens.

The guidelines, "Recommended Amount of Sleep for Pediatric Populations" will be published June 13 in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. The AAP endorses the guidelines and encourages pediatricians to discuss these recommendations and healthy sleep habits with parents and teens during clinical visits.
The consensus group recommends the following sleep hours:

  • Infants 4-12 months old should sleep 12-16 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
  • Children 1-2 years of age should sleep 11-14 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
  • Children 3-5 years of age should sleep 10-13 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
  • Children 6-12 years of age should sleep 9-12 hours per 24 hours on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
  • Teenagers 13-18 years of age should sleep 8-10 hours per 24 hours on a regular basis to promote optimal health.

 

The group found that adequate sleep duration for age on a regular basis leads to improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, emotional regulation, quality of life, and mental and physical health. Not getting enough sleep each night is associated with an increase in injuries, hypertension, obesity and depression, especially for teens who may experience increased risk of self-harm or suicidal thoughts.

In addition to these recommendations, the AAP suggests that all screens be turned off 30 minutes before bedtime and that TV, computers and other screens not be allowed in children's bedrooms. For infants and young children, establishing a bedtime routine is important to ensuring children get adequate sleep each night.

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