How Much Sleep do Kids Need?

Getting the right amount of sleep is incredibly important for a child’s developing body and brain. During sleep, your child’s body is growing, her immune system is ramping up to help fight any germs she’s picked up during the day, and her brain is helping prepare her for a new day of learning. But when she doesn’t get enough sleep, everything from her health to social life can suffer. While every child has different needs, here are the recommended guidelines for how often your child should be sleeping according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Newborns (0-3 months) 14-17 hours

Unless you’re incredibly lucky, your newborn is probably not sleeping through the night. But he will be sleeping in short spurts, and he should be getting about nine hours of sleep at nighttime and eight in the daytime.

Newborns are different from kids of other ages because they fall into REM sleep (the deepest sleep) much more rapidly, which helps their brains develop. This is why it’s vitally important for your new baby to get enough sleep.

Infants (4-11 months) 12-15 hours

Between four and 11 months, your infant should start being able to sleep in longer spurts. Her daytime naps should decrease while her ability to fall and stay asleep should increase.

This is also the age when some infants tend to get fussy about separation with a parent at bedtime. If your child’s having trouble with separation at bedtime, read tips on how to soothe her back to sleep.

Toddlers (1-2 years) 11-14 hours

Your toddler still likely needs a daytime nap or two, but he should start being able to consistently sleep through the night.

This is also the age where a bedtime routine, like always reading a story before bed, can be immensely helpful in helping your child gain healthy and consistent sleep habits.

Preschoolers (3-5 years) 10-13 hours

At this age, your child will probably go from having one nap a day to having no nap, depending on his particular needs. He should be sleeping all the way through the night.

Preschool is also the age where you may start to notice your child sleeping inconsistently. New friends, new activities, and new stimulations can all impact your child’s ability to fall and stay asleep.

School age children (6-13 years) Nine to 11 hours

School age children should be on a consistent sleep schedule where they sleep throughout the night with no naps.

This may be the age where children can also start developing poor sleep habits, like bringing bright screens to bed or staying up late talking to friends. If you notice your child has extreme difficulty waking or sleeps in very late on weekends, he may not be getting the sleep he needs.

Teenagers (14-17 years) Eight to 10 hours

Like younger children, teenagers still need a lot of sleep. Their bodies are developing at a rapid pace, which can be exhausting, and their brain is still growing.

Unfortunately, teenagers are also the most likely group of children to be sleep deprived. Early school hours, homework, sports, and social lives can all cut into sleep, and “catching up” on the weekends doesn’t undo the damage that chronically not getting enough sleep on weekdays causes.

Young adults (18+ years) Seven to nine hours

Eighteen-year-olds need about seven to nine hours of sleep a night, which is the same as all adults (except the elderly, who need less).

However, they’re also likely to have trouble getting those full seven to nine hours because of rapid changes in lifestyle – moving out, college, work, and travel can all impact how much sleep your child gets.

What to do if your child isn’t getting enough sleep

There are many reasons your child may be having trouble sleeping, from school stress to sleeping in late on weekends to not being able to quiet her mind at night. If your child can’t seem to get a good night’s sleep, try these helpful hints and tips:

  • Make sure your child has a consistent schedule where he wakes up at the same time each day and goes to bed at the same time each night (even on weekends).

  • Teach her great sleep hygiene habits to make her room as sleep-friendly as possible.

  • Help him self-soothe and calm his mind with breathing exercises or counting sheep. (Hint: Read a more detailed list of hints and tips to help your child sleep better, as well as sleep exercises.)

  • Consider a kid-friendly sleep aid, like melatonin.

Melatonin for Kids

A kid-friendly melatonin sleep aid like drug-free PURE Zzzs Kidz Melatonin Gummies (ages 4+) can help your child feel calm and sleepy.

Melatonin is a drug-free, non-habit forming, and a supplement solution to occasional sleeplessness. It contains a sleep hormone that your child’s body creates when her brain’s telling her body it’s time for bed. Read more information about kids and melatonin.

Every child’s needs are different, but so long as she’s getting about the recommended amount, she’s probably getting enough sleep. However, if you notice your child is frequently cranky, lethargic, or has trouble focusing, she may not be getting enough sleep, which can impact all areas of her life. She may have trouble falling asleep, or she may be waking up throughout the night. If your child suffers from occasional sleeplessness, discover the recommendations from the sleep experts at ZzzQuil. If your child has ongoing trouble falling or staying asleep, talk to your pediatrician.