Snoozing For Health

Snoozing For Health
26 August 2019
Just how much sleep does your child need?

A good routine

Sleep is a foundation for health. Without enough sleep, our bodies battle to keep up with the demands of our day, and you may find your mind wandering. Or, even worse, you’re not able to function as you need to, during your workday. It’s the same for babies and children, if not even more important. Sleep is not only a foundation for health; it’s a foundation for development too, and just as important as good nutrition.

A sleep schedule

Establishing and adhering to a nap and sleep schedule is important, as this allows for the right amount of sleep at the right time. Generally speaking, people need the following amounts of sleep as they grow up:

  • Newborn to 3-month-old babies: Should sleep up to 16 hours a day.
  • 3 month to 6-month-old babies: Should sleep up to 15 hours a day.
  • 6 month to 12-month-old babies: Should sleep up to 14 hours a day.
  • 12 month to 18-month-old babies: Should sleep up to 13 hours a day.
  • 18 month to 2-year-old children: Should sleep up to 12 hours a day.
  • Preschoolers: Should sleep up to 11 hours a day.
  • School children: Should sleep between 10 and 9 hours a night.
  • Teenagers and adults: Should sleep between 8 and 9 hours a night.

Babies and naps

Of course, as every parent dreams, it would be ideal if babies slept for 16 hours in a row. But, developmentally, babies and young children can't stay asleep for that long. That’s why establishing a regular nap schedule is key, as this also helps to establish the night time sleep schedule. Here’s a rough guide for how you can ensure your children are getting enough sleep during the day and night:

  • Newborn to 3-month-old babies: Their 16 hours of sleep should be broken up over the day and night, with equal amounts apportioned to the day and night.
  • 3 month to 6-month-old babies: Should start to sleep more during the night time hours, than during the day time.
  • 6 month to 12-month-old babies: Should be sleeping for approximately 10 hours during the night time, with the remainder of their sleeping hours made up during daytime naps.
  • 12 month to 18-month-old babies: There should still be at least two naps in their days, with the majority of their sleeping hours taken up during the night.
  • 18 month to 2-year-old children: Here’s where just one nap a day is required.
  • Preschoolers: It’s recommended that preschoolers continue to have one nap a day.
  • School children and teenagers: By this stage, all the sleeping hours for your children should fall during the night. Don’t be surprised, however, if your child or teen does go for a nap after a busy day at school. Growing up is tough on the body, and they may be tired from extra-curricular activities or keeping up with a busy schedule. Similarly, teenagers undergo significant hormonal changes, and they may need more sleep than you think!

And parents?

And as for us adults, we recommend getting a good night’s sleep as often as possible. Although you may think you ‘function well’ on 5 hours’ sleep a night, you’re probably not. Sticking to a regular bedtime routine and doing your best to ensure you get enough sleep, particularly during the week, will help you function most effectively during the day. And, on the weekends, schedule a little time in your diary for a nap

LifeDoc Can Help

If you have a question about your child’s sleep needs, book an appointment with your family doctor or paediatrician as soon as possible. Make that appointment, and take your notes using LifeDoc™. LifeDoc ™ can help. LifeDoc ™ helps you take charge of your personal health information, remember medical appointments, and securely stores your personal medical history. Stay up to date with LifeDoc™ on Facebook and Twitter.