Sleep Needs for Kids

June 28, 2022

The amount of sleep our bodies need changes throughout our lifespan.  Since 1970, our children are averaging less and less sleep – up to 40% not getting recommended amounts.  Sleep is equated to health on all levels:  Physical, mental, and emotional; and is key to performance in school sports, relationships and beyond.

So how much sleep should our kids be getting?  We know our newborns can sleep most of the day and in general the average adult recommendation is 7-9 hours per night.  Below is a chart that identifies age groups in between:

Age Category Recommended Nightly Sleep Duration
Newborn (0-3 months) 14-17 hours
Infant (4-11 months) 12-15 hours
Toddler (1-2 years) 11-14 hours
Pre-School (3-5 years) 10-13 hours
School-Age (6-13 years) 9-11 hours
Teen (14-17 years) 8-10 hours
Young Adult (18-25 years) 7-9 hours


Tips and suggestions to set your children up for success with their sleep:

  1. Have an established bed/sleep time goal. Work backwards from time needed to rise based on recommendations above.
  2. Limit screen time and blue light exposure 2 hours before bedtime. Blue light interferes with our body’s signals to sleep.
  3. Ensure kids get exposure to light during the day and lots of physical activity!
  4. Keep room/sleep environment cool.
  5. If trouble falling asleep too late, consider shifting carbohydrates to earlier meals in the day, and eat an earlier dinner.
  6. Ensure hands, feet, arms, and legs are warm enough during transition to sleep – consider wearing socks to bed and taking a warm shower/bath before bedtime.


Need help getting your kids (or you for that matter!) up earlier in the morning?  Try these things:

  1. Eat a breakfast shortly after waking as it may help shift wake-up time earlier.
  2. Also consider eating a high-carboyhydrate breakfast to improve sleep-wakefulness transition.

Note:  Adults can benefit from all of these suggestions as well!

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