How Much Sleep is Needed?

How Much Sleep is Needed?

I’m asked almost everyday by some concerned parent whether their child is sleeping enough or too much. That’s not a simple answer and varies from child to child and even from day to day.

For instance, if a child has just learned to walk she will often get more sleep because she’s getting a lot more physical activity than she did just before she began walking. When a child first learns to walk, she toddles from place to place trying out her new skills with a new burst of energy. (Note: don’t put your video camera away after she’s taken those monumental first steps! There are some never-to-be-repeated times right around the corner.)

Once she’s mastered walking, her sleep needs may decrease again. Of course when a child is ill or even fighting off an infection, he might need more sleep. And if a child (or adult) is looking forward to an exciting day ahead, the excitement and anticipation may naturally result in less sleep the night before.

But back to the question, how much sleep does my baby need? I have general guidelines for the range of normal amount of sleep needed for each age:

Average Number of Hours of Sleep Needed

Age
Per Day
Birth
16 to 18 hours
First 6 months
14 to 16 hours
6 to 12 months
13 to 14 hours
12 months to 2 years
12 to 13 hours
2 to 6 years
10 to 13 hours
6 to 12 year
9 to 11 hours
12 to 18 years about
10 hours
Adults about
8 hours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep in mind, the above table is a general guideline, only. Your child may fall outside these averages and be completely normal.  On the other hand, sleep is vitally important and it’s worth paying attention to the sleep needs of everyone in the family.

Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is the founder of DrGreene.com (cited by the AMA as “the pioneer physician Web site”), a practicing pediatrician, father of four, & author of Raising Baby Green & Feeding Baby Green. He appears frequently in the media including such venues as the The New York Times, the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, & the Dr. Oz Show.

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