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What is the Recommended Amount of Sleep For Children?

Updated: Nov 19, 2023

Adequate sleep is significant to a child’s mental and physical health because it enables them to rest their mind and body to recover well.

baby sleeping

Mental health

Afternoon periods of sleep are especially significant for a child's mental development because it allows the child to restore the resources used during the day’s physical activity.

While kids are awake during the day, toxins build up in the brain. Sleep is effective in removing toxins that have accumulated during their awake period and creating new pathways for learning new things.

In terms of mental development, studies have shown that when kids sleep, their brains usually process and consolidate memories. And this is significant in helping them recall the essential things in their lives.

Even during infancy, when kids are sleeping, it is shown that their minds are busy at work as they rest. When the baby is sleeping and starts to twitch, it is noted that their body is learning the connection between the brain and the muscles.

When children lack sleep, they are more prone to make unnecessary mistakes that interfere with their problem-solving skills and focus. The brain neurons cannot function properly without adequate day sleep.

A kid taking good rest during the day is essential in assisting them to concentrate and learn new stuff and supports their minds to capture new information and retain it.

Physical health

Kids are still in their growth period and sleep benefits their muscle growth and repair. It is scientifically proven that growth hormones are secreted and synthesized during any time of sleep.

Kids who do not sleep well may experience difficulty in growth because growth hormones are mainly produced during sleeping periods, thus, inadequate amounts of sleep may result in GH deficiencies.

Adequate day sleep allows a child’s body to repair and rejuvenate; this happens through tissue repairing, increasing muscle mass, synthesizing proteins, and maintaining an effective immune system. Kids who lack adequate sleep are more prone to illness because of weakened immune systems.

According to studies, children who get fewer sleep hours are likely to be obese. This is because lack of enough sleep can affect the leptin hormone, which is the hormone that triggers a child’s mind when they have eaten enough. Without proper sleep and less leptin hormone, a kid may continue to eat even if they have had enough, resulting in obesity.

Emotional health

Children are prone to crankiness and moodiness when they lack sleep. A lack of enough sleep can also cause fatigue. Kids often have to take naps in order to recover their energy.

Stress levels are amplified through anxiety and aggression. Please note, that sleeping doesn’t necessarily eliminate stress, but it can help kids handle their stresses better.

The amount of hours a child needs to sleep varies because of the different sleep patterns every child has. Kids from 0 to 3 years will require 5 to 14 hours of sleep daily.

woman kissing child

So, what is the recommended amount of sleep for kids?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics:

Kids under one year: 12-16 hours

1-2 years old: 11-14 hours

3-5 years old: 10-13 hours

6-12 years old: 9-12 hours

Teenagers aged 13 to 18 years: 8-10 hours

Some children have issues getting to sleep and staying asleep. If you have infants with trouble getting sleep, it is advisable to establish a bedtime routine that works. It is ideal that the routine start at the same time every night.

When nighttime starts, you can dim the lights, keep electronics away at least one hour before bedtime, and limit or eliminate caffeine and sugar during this time. A warm bath can also help.

3 Natural Sleep Remedies For Children

  1. Chamomile tea

  2. Warm Milk

  3. Lavender essential oil on the skin/pillow or in a diffuser


If you are concerned with your kid not getting adequate amounts of sleep throughout the day and are struggling with behavior difficulties, consult with your child's primary care provider to find a more tailored solution.

Giving a kid sleep medication is not advisable without consulting with the care provider, however, there are over-the-counter sleep aids available for children as a short-term solution. As you can tell, enough sleep can be a game-changer in your kid's physiological and emotional health.


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