As adults, there are ways that we have to regain some energy throughout the day. Whether our preferred method is our favorite hot drink of caffeine, a protein bar, or something else entirely, we know ourselves and our bodies well enough to see our options laid out in front of us.
That being said, we know that there is absolutely no substitution for a good and restful night’s sleep.
Adults also have a more attuned ability to fight through tiredness from poor sleep. Although it may never be something we would consider to be comfortable, we can generally make it through that midday-meeting-sleepiness still mostly intact.
This is not always the case for our kids. In fact, all too often, lacking a good night’s sleep means that the following day is somewhat of a loss until nap time comes around.
This is all to say that while adults can function well enough on little or low-quality sleep, our kids have different sleep needs. They need a great deal of proper rest to be able to grow both mentally and physically.
As a result, not only do children need quality sleep even more than we adults do, but they also require a great deal more of it.
How much sleep does a child need? Let's discuss.
Do Kids Need Different Amounts of Sleep As They Grow?
Just like how adults and children require different amounts of rest per night, the number of necessary hours also shifts between kids of different ages. Also, of course, we will all have slightly different requirements for how much sleep we need to be productive.
Some people can seemingly get by with a measly five or six hours a night, while others need a quality eight or nine to feel ready to take on the day. This principle also applies to kids, so while these general guidelines are helpful, they will not necessarily apply to everyone.
Unsurprisingly, infants need the most sleep of children and adults from any age group. In order to be considered an infant, a baby needs to be between two months and one year of age.
Since a newborn's main purposes are simply to grow, sleep, and cry, they will require from 12 to 16 hours of rest per day. It is worth noting that this time also includes naps. After the first year, babies will likely ditch the evening naps in favor of daytime naps.
The next age group is toddlers, which will include kids from one to two years old. They still have significant sleep requirements, but they are not quite at the levels of infants. Instead, toddlers thrive with 11 to 14 hours of sleep.
If this seems like a fairly large range, that is because, as we stated earlier, different people will require different amounts of rest.
After toddlers, we have kids between three and five years old—preschoolers and school-age children. In many ways, their sleep requirements remain quite similar to those of toddlers.
They will still require ten to 13 hours of sleep a night, so it is entirely possible they will still be resting just about the same amount as they were in previous years.
And, hey, it’s not exactly like we can blame them. After all, who of us wouldn’t get ten hours of sleep per night if we could?
Next are kids between six and 12 years old, so this range essentially takes them from the depths of childhood to what could solidly be considered “tween” years. While there is still certainly a range, this is where we begin to see the necessary amount of sleep decrease into more adult-like numbers.
Kids between these ages will typically need less sleep: anywhere from nine to 12 hours of sleep every night. This is enough to keep up with their growth spurts, but they may find themselves feeling more tired at certain times.
Lastly, we have the all-important teenage years of 13 to 18. At this point, their sleeping habits and cycles will be fairly similar to that of adults, though they will still need more sleep at times to keep up with their growth. These kids will need the recommended amount of sleep of eight to 12 hours per night.
While this might not sound like a lot compared to previous age groups, teenagers have school, homework, social lives, and other time-consuming activities to worry about. It can be tempting for them to skimp out on sleep as a result, but it is crucial that we as parents do not allow this to happen.
After all, sleep is absolutely integral to kids as they age. Why else would they get so much of it? And why exactly do kids need all that sleep, you wonder? Well, we are so glad you asked.
Why Do Kids Need So Much Sleep?
It is important to note that the amount of sleep kids get is equally as important as the quality of their sleep. 12 hours spent tossing and turning, throwing blankets around is hardly helpful.
We will delve into reasons that kids may not be getting the best possible quality of rest later, but for now, let’s cover why sleep is so important for our kids.
With a good night’s rest in their back pockets, our kids are significantly better positioned to take on the day. In the short term, getting enough sleep has been shown to improve attention, mental and physical wellbeing, and other important metrics for success. It is also necessary to remember that even short-term behaviors can have long-term benefits.
This improvement in concentration, memory, and physical health can help them get superb grades and excel in the extracurriculars they love. In short, good sleep habits set our kids up to wake up and get the absolute most out of their days, and in turn, out of their lives.
What Happens if Kids Don’t Get Enough Sleep?
On the other side of the coin, children, much like their adult counterparts, are bound to have a less than stellar night’s sleep from time to time. The following days are very rarely fun. But, if this occurs on a more consistent basis, then children can expect to have more difficulty in school.
While a single poor night’s rest will likely only have these unfortunate short-term repercussions that can be remedied by a well-timed nap, steady low quality sleep patterns over time can have serious effects.
For instance, if this lack of sleep really becomes a constant problem, a child or teen’s growth can be somewhat stunted.
This is because growth hormone is released when we sleep. Sleep deprivation could result in a deficiency of this hormone, which has been linked to an increased risk for both obesity and diabetes.
Why Might a Child Have Trouble Sleeping?
The truth is that there are an abundance of reasons a child could have trouble sleeping but are potential ways to treat all of these.
They Could Use the Help of a Natural Sleep Aid
Everyone can use a helping hand in life from time to time. So why should our sleep be any different?
This help can come in the form of a SleepyPatch from The Natural Patch Co. These patches come in the form of stickers placed directly on the shirt in a spot, depending on how the recipient tends to sleep.
Products from our Parent Tested Parent Approved Award product lines are 100% harsh-chemical-free. Instead, the SleepyPatch utilizes exclusively all-natural ingredients.
By putting the many benefits of mandarin, lavender, sweet marjoram, and vetiver essential oils to use, both children and adults can reap the rewards of nature by improving their quality of sleep.
Stress and Depression in Their Everyday Lives
Children, like adults, may also find sleep harder to come by if they are particularly stressed about their day-to-day. If this is the case for your child, try talking to them about what they are anxious about, and see if you can reach some kind of solution.
Even if not, just getting the feelings out and knowing that they can talk to you will be a big help. Treat their mental health as important as their physical health. Consider poor mood, as well as night terrors, nightmares, a cause to see your family physician.
They Want More Time With You
This item should be more of a compliment than anything else, but it is also possible that your child is resisting rest because they want to spend time with you.
This can sometimes be difficult to achieve in our busy lives, but being there for our kids’ bedtime routines can have a profound impact on them.
Healthy Sleep Habits For the Rest of Their Lives
We want nothing but the best for our children, and that includes how they sleep. However, this can become a slightly more complicated issue when considering just how much rest our kids actually need and how to best help them get it.
By listening to their needs and being there for them, we can help them greatly to feel safe, secure, and sleepy.
Childhood Insomnia and Sleep Problems | Help Guide
The Importance of Sleep for Kids | Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital