If you have kids you've probably argued with them more than once about what time they need to go to bed. It seems the arguments over sleep never end, with toddlers refusing to nap and then as they get older, children constantly wanting to stay up "just 15 more minutes."
One thing a lot of parents struggle with is "how much sleep does your child actually need?" Just like adults who can become irritable and cranky when they're tired, children's moods can also be affected by lack of sleep. But that's not the only reason children need to get the appropriate amount of shut eye every night. According to the National Sleep Foundation, "babies, children, and teens need significantly more sleep than adults to support their rapid mental and physical development."
Not surprisingly, many parents don't know just how much sleep their children need, and how missing even as little to a half hour to an hour of sleep can impact them. While we know that every child is different, there are some handy guidelines parents can follow to see if their children are getting sufficient sleep every night.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that newborns up to 3 months old sleep 14 - 17 hours a day, with that adjusting to 12 - 15 hours from the ages of 4 to 11 months. Toddlers between the ages of 1-5 should still be getting anywhere from 10 - 14 hours sleep a day. What may be surprising is that 13 year olds should be getting as much sleep as a 6 year old, logging at between 9-11 hours sleep a night. And your teens still need 8 - 10 hours of sleep every night even though they'd prefer to stay up late on school nights.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation is very similar to the NSF, echoing the importance of adequate sleep at all levels.
"Regular sleep deprivation often leads to some pretty difficult behaviors and health problems—irritability, difficulty concentrating, hypertension, obesity, headaches, and depression," the AAP writes. "Children who get enough sleep have a healthier immune system, and better school performance, behavior, memory, and mental health."
While every child is different, these are handy guidelines to follow to ensure your child is getting all the sleep they need to wake up refreshed and happy.