How much sleep is necessary for your child ?

Can you think of life without sleep? Sleep is an essential part of everyone’s routine and an indispensable part of a healthy lifestyle. Studies have shown that kids who regularly get an adequate amount of sleep have improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, and overall mental and physical health. Irregular sleeping pattern can lead to high blood pressure, obesity and even depression.

The amount of sleep a child needs varies depending on the individual and certain factors, including the age of the child. Following are some general guidelines:

1 – 4 weeks old : 16 – 17 hours per day

Newborns typically sleep about 16 to 17 hours a day, but only in short periods of two to four hours. Premature babies may sleep longer and colicky ones shorter.

4 week-4 month old : 16 – 14 hours per day

By 6 weeks of age your baby is beginning to settle down a bit, and you may notice more regular sleep patterns emerging. The longest periods of sleep run four to six hours and now tends to occur more regularly in the evening. Day-night confusion ends.

4 months – 1 year old : 14 – 15 hours per day

While up to 15 hours is ideal, most infants up to 11 months old get only about 12 hours of sleep. Establishing healthy sleep habits is a primary goal during this period, as your baby is now much more social, and his sleep patterns are more adult-like.

1-3 years old : 12 – 14 hours per day

As your child moves past the first year toward 18-21 months of age he will likely lose his morning and early evening nap and nap only once a day. While toddlers need up to 14 hours a day of sleep, they typically get only about 10.

3-6 years old : 10 – 12 hours per day

Preschool-age children usually need 10 to 12 hours of slumber per day. At age three, many kids are still napping, at age four, some are still napping, but most give up the habit by age five.

7-12 years old: 10 – 11 hours per dayAt these ages, with social, school, and family activities, bedtimes gradually become later and later, with most 12-years-olds going to bed at about 9 p.m. There is still a wide range of bedtimes, from 7:30 to 10 p.m., as well as total sleep times from 9 to 12 hours.

To help your child to get the proper sleep, develop a calming bedtime ritual that might include taking a bath, brushing teeth, and reading a story. It’s also wise to stick with a consistent bedtime for a good night’s sleep.