How Much Sleep Do Kids Really Need?
Watching your child sleeping blissfully is a sight to behold but how many parents are actually happy about the amount of sleep time their child is having on a daily basis?
Making your child sleep right on time comfortably for enough number of hours, without any disturbance is a major task to be tackled by any new parent. While few babies fuss over sleeping, few may be colicky refusing to sleep. If you are one of those parents of a child without any sleep issues, consider yourself super lucky!
First things first, let us understand that babies do not come with a biological clock and they don’t catch a nap based on if it is day or night. They do have a mood of their own, sometimes cranky, sometimes playful but there are certain guidelines recommended by the doctors on how much sleep is required for a child’s health and well being.
Why is sleep important:
Sleep is important for all us, irrespective of the age. And for children, this resting period contributes a lot for their mental, physical growth and helps them to gain proper weight. According to National Sleep Foundation, US a child should spend an average of 40 per cent in their childhood sleeping for better growth.
The Sleep Hours:
1 to 4 weeks old: The newborns typically sleep for 15 to 16 hours a day ranging anywhere between 2 to 4 hours of nap time.
1 to 4 months old: The regular sleeping pattern starts by 6 weeks. Many babies tend to catch their nap in the evening hours and play through the night.
4 to 12 months old: While infants around 1 year age are expected to sleep for 15 hours, many of them nap only for 12 hours. It is a crucial time for the parents to setup a sleep pattern that would continue for many years to come.
1 to 3 years old: By 1 year, babies tend to walk, run and become very playful. Encourage your child to catch an afternoon sleep and ensure an overall sleep time of 14 hours.
3 to 6 years old: Children in this age group get busier with their school activities and get easily tired by evening. They go to bed between 7 to 9 pm and wake up by 7 am. The ideal sleeping hours are between 10 to 12 hours a day.
7 to 12 years old: With growing school, social, extracurricular activities children tend to spend less time. Even at this age, doctors recommend sleeping hours for around 11 hours, however studies reveal that many kids this generation are able to catch a nap time of only 9 hours on an average.
12 to 18 years old: Sleep plays an important role in their overall development even in teenage. Catching right amount of sleep is very crucial for developing focus, concentration and to be stress free. As a parent, ensure at least 9 hours of sleep time for your child in teenage too.
Tips to make your child sleep:
Set a Time: Set up a routine and fix a time for sleeping. Stick to the timings and this habit will help the child to catch sleep for good number of hours. It may be tough in the beginning but it becomes easy as the time approaches.
Stick to Wake-Up Time: It is also important to fix a time to wake-up in the morning to make children feel fresh and get to school on time.
Warm water Shower: Giving a warm water shower just before the bedtime helps the child to catch sound sleep and feel fresh in the morning.
Turn off the TV: Turn off the television or other gadgets at least 2 hours before the bedtime. According to research, television screen, phone or computer monitors can interfere with the production of melatonin hormone. This hormone plays an important role in sleep-wake patterns of an individual and screen time before sleep may disturb the sleeping pattern of your child.
Sleep Inducing Environment: Create a sleep inducing environment like soft bed sheets in their favourite colours, light cutting blinds etc., that will make your child sleep happily.