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How Much Sleep Do Infants and Kids Need?

by | Sep 25, 2017 | 0 comments

All children, even into their teens, need much more sleep than the average adult in order to develop properly mentally, emotionally, physiologically and anatomically.  The good news is that most adults know that their younger counterparts need more sleep than they do.  The bad news, however, is that many of these same adults haven’t a clue as to how much sleep, approximately, children in each age group needs; just as importantly, they fail to realize how powerfully missed sleep can affect children, even if by just 30 minutes to 1 hour.

To make matters worse, it’s not easy to know if and when kids haven’t gotten enough sleep, among other reasons because kids don’t necessarily know how to react to lack of sleep and, in fact, lack of sleep for them may manifest itself in not-easy-to-categorize ways.It’s been said, in fact, that lack of sleep can lead to certain behaviors or, to put it in medical terms “symptoms,” that can be confused with things like ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADD/attention deficit disorder.  Ironically, a child’s sleepiness or tiredness may compel him or her to act out (almost as if they had extra energy to burn—even though they’re actually burning reserve energy supplies) and, in fact, resist being put to bed or go to sleep right away.  When you learn what these telltale-signs are, then you can take appropriate action (that thankfully don’t necessarily require medication)—meanwhile, you should learn not only what signs a child can give that he or she is running out of steam but how much sleep he/she should get, in general, as well as peripheral tidbits of wisdom what will help you help your child to cope and do well.

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Psychological & Medical Issues To Keep In Mind

There is a reason why the term “Dr. Mom” has become popular—ostensibly, it refers to the role that all parents/guardians sometimes have to play, in addition to being mentors, caretakers, diaper-changers, pharmacists, teachers, cooks, chauffeurs, etc.  Taking care or presiding over children will require you to sometimes play amateur physician/psychiatrist.  You will, for example, sometimes run into certain symptoms children will display that indicate conditions like ADHD or ADD—not only can lack of sleep be confused for these but these conditions, if present, can be responsible for sleep loss.

Research is also revealing that the condition of sleep apnea, the tendency to wake up often during the night because of breathing disorders, may also be common among children, relatively speaking. Adults usually don’t know that they have sleep apnea, a condition which is usually diagnosed by actually observing adults while they sleep.  Well, the matter is as difficult to diagnose, if not more so, for children who, for obvious reasons, may not be able to communicate telling symptoms that adults would be able to share with their doctors.

As for adults, one telling sign is snoring.  If you notice that your child snores, especially loudly or accompanied with bouts of waking up, even if for very short spurts, then you might consider mentioning it to your pediatrician so that the child may be given some tests, possibly involving being sent to now-common sleep study centers.

This is yet another reason why kids need regular visits to their pediatrician.  A doctor can not only help diagnose any medical condition that may be interfering with your child’s essential sleep needs but can recommend viable and usually easy to implement solutions, including seeing a sleep specialist, making changes to the child’s sleeping environment, getting rid of bad habits that lead to poor sleeping arrangements, maybe making adjustments to a child’s diet, and establishing consistent, winding-down nightly routines—e.g., making sure that the child is put to sleep at a consistent time, say, 7 to 8pm every night, preferably not preceded by things, like TV watching, that over-stimulate the child unnecessarily.

How Much Sleep Do Children Need, According To Specific Age Groups?

Although merely approximations, these are the numbers of hours that children in each of these age groups requires, in general:

  • Newborns (up to 4 months) need about 14 hours to 17 hours; the minimum they should get is 11 hours and the maximum is 19.
  • Infants (4 months to 11 months) need from 12 hours to 15 hours; the recommended minimum is 10 hours and the maximum is 18.
  • Toddlers (1 year to 2 years) need from 9/10 hours to 15/16 hours; the minimum is 9 hours and the maximum is 16.
  • Preschoolers (3 years to 5 years) need from 10 to 13 hours; the minimum is 8 hours and the maximum is 14 hours.
  • School-aged Kids (6 years to 13 years) need from 9 hours to 11 hours; the minimum should be 7 hours; the maximum is around 12 hours.
  • Teenagers (14 years to 17 years) need from 8 hours to 10 hours; the minimum they need is about 7 hours and the maximum is 11.
  • Young adults (18 years to 25 years) need from 7 to 9 hours; the minimum is around 6 and the maximum is around 11.

Additional Guidelines, Caveats And Best Practices To Keep In Mind

–Children who don’t get a minimum of the recommended amounts of restful sleep can go on to develop a number of medical or psychological issues; accordingly, strive to make sure that your kids get the sleep they so badly need.

–For useful recommendations from the medical community on what to look for and best practices on how to get children to meet proper sleep quotas, look at the material printed in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine; the recommendations herein are backed by the American Academy of Pediatrics as well as the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

In essence, they back the numbers that have already been given in this article on how much sleep children need, on average, based on what age group they fall into

–Suggestions on how much babies under 4 months old actually need are only very loose approximations due to the fact that the variations in sleep patterns in this age group is difficult to pinpoint or designate accurately; there simply isn’t enough research to back up definitive sleep hours needed—in other words, there are simply too many unquantifiable variables.

–The good news is that if kids get the sleep they need, you should see improvement in behavior, ability to learn, attention span, memory capacity, emotional stability, and even more likelihood of listening to instructions and requests from parents, guardians and caretakers.

Conclusion

Although no one can tell you exactly how much sleep your child actually needs for the best case scenario, we do know that kids need more sleep than adults, that the amount of sleep they need falls within certain number of hours (provided in this article), that lack of sleep is responsible for a long list of unsavory medical and psychological problems, and, finally, that if you can help your children get the sleep they need, they will be healthier and more amenable and, just as importantly, you may get more sleep yourself knowing that they are feeling better and acting more responsibly for their age.

Author: Emma Megan

I am a mother of two beautiful girls.I know that when a mother gives birth to a child, she has to be very cautious than a father for the health of that child.Wherever I get the opportunity to write, I write about the wellness of the children because a real mother knows how to keep a child healthy.Lets’s write on the web for whatever is needed for a baby.
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