Sleep is very important to kids’ well-being, but the link between a child’s behavior and a lack of sleep isn’t always obvious. When adults are tired, they can be lack energy or grumpy, but kids can become hyper, disagreeable, and have extreme changes in behavior.
There’s no exact amount of sleep that all children of a particular age need, but here’s a guide to the approximate hours of sleep they should aim for:
Preschoolers sleep about 11 to 12 hours per night. They may benefit from some quiet time in the afternoon, instead, those who get enough rest at night may no longer need a daytime nap.
Most nursery schools and kindergartens have quiet periods when the kids lie on mats or just rest. As kids give up their naps, they may go to bed at night earlier than they did as toddlers.
School-age kids need 10 to 11 hours of sleep a night. For a variety of reasons can start problems at this age. Sports and after-school activities, mobile devices, TVs, computers, homework and hectic family schedules all can contribute to kids not getting the sleep they need.
Sleep-deprived kids can become hyper or irritable, and may have a hard time paying attention in school.
Teens need about 9 hours of sleep per night, but many don’t get it. Many of them are chronically sleep deprived, because of early school start times on top of schedules packed with school, friends, homework and activities.
Sleep deprivation adds up over time, so an hour less per night is like a full night without sleep by the end of the week. A lack of sleep, among other things, can lead to:
- being less attentive
- delayed response time
- inconsistent performance
- short-term memory loss
Establish a bedtime routine that encourages good sleep habits, no matter what your child’s age. These tips can help kids ease into a good night’s sleep:
- Stick to a bedtime, and give your kids a heads-up 30 minutes and then 10 minutes beforehand.
- Encourage older kids and teens to set and maintain a bedtime that allows for the full hours of sleep needed at their age.
- Include a winding-down period in the routine.