We all know that children need to sleep, and most of us might agree that the combination of children and sleep often results in stress for adults. We think of the baby years as being a time of parental sleep deprivation and many of us may heave a sigh of relief after having passed through those baby years and finally having more consistent sleep patterns as children reach school age.
What we adults may not be aware of is the fact that many of our children are currently sleep deprived. What? CHILDREN? Sleep deprived? Is that even possible? (One may wonder…)
I believe that many children today are chronically sleep deprived, and that we can make a significant difference in our children’s overall health and wellbeing by awarding them more TIME to sleep each night.
Children need sleep, but exactly how much to they need? According to WebMD:
1-3 Years Old: 12 – 14 hours per day
3-6 Years Old: 10 – 12 hours per day
7-12 Years Old: 10 – 11 hours per day
12-18 Years Old: 8 – 9 hours per day
(I assume that day actually means a 24 hour period.)
Let’s take a look at what these numbers really mean. If my 12 year old needs 10 hours of sleep at night and she goes to bed at 9 pm, she should sleep until at LEAST 7 am in order to have the minimum amount of sleep recommended for her age. At my house, the children need to be out the door, dressed, fed and ready for the day at 7 am during the school year. If I allowed her to stay up until 9 pm every evening, I would be depriving her of the sleep she needs.
- daytime: 1.25 hours
- night time: 11.75 hours
- night time: 11.5 hours
- night time: 10.75 hours
- night time: 10.25 hours
- night time: 9.75 hours
- night time: 9.25 hours
- night time: 9 hours
- night time: 8.5 hours
In keeping with my example above, my 12 year old could just get the required amount of sleep by going to bed at 9 and waking up at 6:15, that is, assuming that she falls asleep the moment her head hits the pillow.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends
Toddlers: 12-14 hours
Preschoolers: 11-13 hours
School-aged Children: 10-11 hours
Teens: 9 hours