Getting enough quality sleep is important for children of all ages. Sleep is an essential part of building both the physical and mental health of a child. Understanding a child’s sleeping needs is the first step toward providing good sleep to children. Children that get good sleep have increased brainpower, and higher attention spans, and are more calm and alert during the day than children who do not get enough sleep. It plays a crucial role in the development of young minds and inadequate sleep can have a long-term effect on mental health. Up to 50% of children suffer from sleep disorders at some point.
The amount of sleep required for children differs from one child to another depending upon different factors, age is one of them.
According to National Sleep Foundation (NSF), daily sleep need is recommended for babies of different ages-
- New-born: 0-3 months 14-17 hours
- Infant: 4-11 months 12-15 hours
- Toddler: 1-2 years old 11-14 hours
- Pre-school: 3-5 years old 10-13 hours
- School-age: 6-13 years old 9-11 hours
- New-borns ( 0-3 months)
New-borns spend at least 14 to 17 hours sleeping every day. These sleeping hours are broken up into several shorter periods because the baby needs to be fed and cleaned at regular intervals. The longest period of sleep runs for six hours in the evening. Their biological clocks have not been developed, their sleep patterns do not relate to light or darkness.
- Infant (4-11 months)
During this period confusion about day and night begins to end. Sleep patterns may start becoming more regular and helping them establish healthy sleeping habits at this age should be an important goal to achieve. It’s natural for babies early in this age range to take three naps a day, and by age 6 months they usually only take two.
While 15 hours is considered ideal but it can vary and be 12, 13, or 14 at times. Emotional delays are common for preterm infants, and they may struggle to express their need for daytime naps.
- Sleep tips for babies
Because they have yet to develop a circadian rhythm, very young babies rarely sleep through the night, and that’s okay. If they don’t fall back asleep naturally, try soothing them by talking or with touch, without picking them up. If they continue to cry, they may be hungry or need their diaper changed. Quickly and quietly fix the problem, using only a nightlight if possible, and calmly leave the room.
- Toddler (1-2 years)
Toddlers get 11-14 hours of sleep every day. Their napping time decreases. At the beginning of this period, it is normal to take a nap twice a day, but it is not uncommon for older infants to take a nap only once. Most 21-36-month-old children need a nap once a day. This can last for one to three and a half hours. They usually go to bed between 7 pm. Wake up at 9 pm, between 6 am and 8 am.
- Sleep tips for toddlers
Toddlers have a sleep schedule that is supplemented by a nap twice a day. Sleep disorders in young children are exacerbated by separation anxiety and fear of oversight. This leads to procrastination techniques and bedtime stubbornness. To reduce these complaints, allow you to manage small decisions such as B. Which pajamas to wear and which books to read. Be patient, solid, and loving, as power struggles are likely to provoke a stronger reaction from them.
- Pre-school (3-5 years)
Children at this age should get 10- 13 total hours of sleep every day. During this time naps get shorter or pre-schoolers can skip napping. As daytime naps continue to decrease, pre-schoolers gradually begin to get most of their daily sleep at night. A regular bedtime is important
- School kids (6-13 years)
Due to the wide range of school ages, the individual needs of each child in this group can vary significantly. Young school-aged children usually need more sleep than children approaching a middle school or high school. For elementary school students aged 6 to 12, the ideal sleep time per night is 9 to 12 hours. Most, if not all, sleep occurs at night, but daytime naps are still beneficial for children in this age group. Cultural studies incorporating elementary school naps have shown that regular naps are associated with increased well-being, strong academic performance, and a reduced risk of emotional or behavioral problems. The onset of puberty usually occurs around the age of 10 in girls and around the age of 12 in boys and often causes major changes in children’s sleep patterns. Even with precocious puberty, children often fall asleep late and suffer from sleep disorders. An overall decrease in sleep quality has also been observed, which helps explain why many pubescent young people feel tired or sleepy during the day.
- Sleep tips for school kids
During school, social and extracurricular activities, school-age children often have busy schedules, which can make it difficult to sleep soundly. Whenever possible, try to maintain a consistent schedule and relaxation period before bedtime. Ask them to do homework and other activities in another room, if possible, to strengthen the connection between the bedroom and sleep.
- Teenagers (13-18 years)
When a child is a teenager, sleep is as important to health and growth as it was when he was young, but social pressure and school activities such as exercise and homework prevent adequate sleep. Children aged 12-18 need to sleep for 8-9 hours. It’s difficult for everyone to get the sleep they need, so sleep should be a priority for the family. Find out when the whole family needs to sleep and wake up and stick to them. Maintaining a regular sleep-wake routine helps maintain a circadian rhythm, the internal “clock”. Kids tend to work well with routines, so also have a bedtime routine and make sure you stick to it.
- Sleep tips for teenagers
Teenagers are programmed to have a later circadian rhythm which can create a problem with school start times. You can help your teenager by acknowledging the increased demands on their time and working together to find a healthy sleep schedule that works with their lifestyle. Teenagers appear to imitate their parents to a certain extent when it comes to sleeping, so one of the best things you can do to help them develop a healthy sleep pattern is to keep one yourself.
The morning is important, too. Though it’s tempting to let your kids sleep in on the weekends, this can disrupt their sleep schedule and make it harder to wake up during the week. Try not to over-schedule extracurricular activities if you notice these having a detrimental effect on their sleep time.
- Improve growth: According to a research review of infant sleep and its links to cognition and growth published in 2017, infant sleep plays an important and positive role in cognition and physical growth. Ten studies on infant sleep and cognition were included in the review. It was concluded that there is a positive association between sleep, memory, language, executive function, and overall cognitive development in typically developing infants and young children.
- Prevent obesity: Lack of sleep can lead to unhealthy weight gain, especially in children and adolescents, who need more sleep than adults. Researchers have found that short sleep duration causes metabolic changes that may be associated with obesity. It is believed that sleep during childhood and adolescence is particularly important for brain development, and that inadequate sleep in young people can impair the function of an area of the brain. It is called the hypothalamus, which regulates appetite and energy levels.
- Fight illness: When we sleep, we all produce proteins called cytokines that help our bodies fight off infection, disease, and stress. Too little sleep can affect our cytokine levels. Although there is limited data on young children, some studies on adolescents have shown that reported episodes may be reduced if adolescents sleep longer.
- Reduce injuries: Research has shown that children are clumsier and more impulsive when they get less sleep, making them more prone to accidents and injuries. An investigative study of the association between sleep and injury among school-age children in China found that sleep disturbances were significantly higher among children who had injured themselves compared with those who had injured themselves. The children were not injured. The study looked at 182 children who had received medical assistance with injuries in the previous 12 months, and 207 uninjured control children.
- Boost attention span: According to a study published in 2011 that explored children’s sleep, sleepiness, and performance on cognitive tasks, children suffer from sleep-related cognitive dysfunction. As with adults, children with many clinical sleep disorders tend to perform relatively poorly on cognitive tasks. In addition, children can frequently accumulate sleep debt, which, over time, can lead to chronic inadequate sleep. The researchers also concluded that instead of the recommended 9 to 10 hours of sleep per night, the school-age children they observed slept an average of 7.5 hours.
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