Anyone who has been in the presence of a fussy, tired kid or a sleep-deprived teen knows just how much sleep can impact a child’s state.
Irritability is one common byproduct of an inadequate amount of sleep, but other aspects of a child's development can also be affected by sleep. Studies have shown that toddlers with bedtimes before 10 p.m. have improved motor function, language, and social skills.
But while it's no secret that kids need their rest, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly how much rest a kid should be getting. Now, new guidelines backed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) are clueing parents in on exactly how much sleep kids need at each age.
Sleep requirements for kids
Sleep experts recommend the following hours of sleep, including naps, for every 24 hours, CBS News reports.
Infants 4 to 12 months: 12 to 16 hours of sleep every 24 hours (including naps).
Children 1 to 2 years: 11 to 14 hours of sleep every 24 hours (including naps).
Children 3 to 5 years: 10 to 13 hours of sleep every 24 hours (including naps).
Children 6 to 12 years: 9 to 12 hours of sleep every 24 hours.
Teens 13 to 18 years: 8 to 10 hours of sleep every 24 hours.
The AAP does not offer recommendations for babies younger than four months as there is no real “normal” when it comes to a newborn’s sleep patterns.
Encouraging good sleep habits
Kids who regularly get the right amount of sleep for their age are likely to see benefits, including better behavior, attention span, learning, memory, emotional regulation, and overall quality of life, says consensus paper author Dr. Lee Brooks, an attending pulmonologist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
"We should get away from the idea that sleep is for slackers. It's something important to make you function during the day… we need to respect that," Brooks told CBS News.
So how can parents make sure their kids get a good night’s rest? The AAP recommends the following:
Maintain a structured bedtime routine
Turn off all electronic screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime
Keep televisions, computers, phones and gaming consoles out of kids' bedrooms.
The AAP's new recommendations for sleep are published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.