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How To Know If Your Child Is Getting Enough Sleep

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University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children'sExperts in Children's Health
child lying in bed with teddy bear rubbing eyes

What your kids do during the night has a huge impact on their daily lives. Sleep plays a key role in mental, physical and emotional health, from infancy through the teen years and beyond.

Experts at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine have reviewed the research and arrived at a target slumber number for each age group. Their science-based guidelines advise these daily sleep totals:

  • 4 to 12 months: 12 to 16 hours
  • 1 to 2 years: 11 to 14 hours
  • 3 to 5 years: 10 to 13 hours
  • 6 to 12 years: 9 to 12 hours
  • 13 to 18 years: eight to 10 hours

Good Rest Offers Many Rewards

“The right amount of sleep helps kids do better in school, behave, and regulate their emotions,” says Sally Ibrahim, MD, director of the Pediatric Sleep Center at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s. “Adequate rest also wards off health problems like high blood pressure, extra weight and other health issues.”

“Many children - and adults - don’t get enough sleep. But snoozing too much also poses health risks, such as obesity and diabetes,” Dr. Ibrahim says. “The guidelines can help you steer your child into the healthy range.”

Set Your Child Up for Successful Slumber

Most kids fight back against bedtime. Help them make friends with the sandman with:

  • Modeling. Kids learn by watching you. Show them you value sleep and they’ll start to understand its importance.
  • Routine. Keep the times for sleep, waking, naps, and play around the same time every day. And develop soothing nighttime rituals such as reading.
  • No screens. Ban phones, TVs, laptops, and tablets from kids’ bedrooms. Shut them down at least 60 minutes before bedtime.
  • No weekend sleeping in. Keep activities in the morning so that your child keeps in touch with their sleep clock rhythm. Sleep ins should not be more than one to two hours beyond the usual weekday wake time.

Related Links

The sleep medicine team at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s treats a wide range of childhood sleep disorders, from the common to the complex. With expert diagnosis and treatment, we offer proven, evidence-based methods to help children achieve quality sleep. Learn more about the sleep services at UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital.

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