Recommended amounts of sleep for kids

Sleep is incredibly important, especially for children, as they are growing and developing. The amount of sleep a child needs can vary according to age. The younger the child the more sleep that is needed, and as a child ages, the amount of sleep needed decreases. It is essential for a child to get the right amount of sleep for good health and well-being, as well as allowing a child to be at their best.

Here is a guide on the amount of sleep kids need:

The early days

During the early months of life a baby needs to sleep day and night and spends much of the time sleeping. A baby tends to sleep in short bursts averaging one to three hours at a time, and awakes for a short time before resuming sleep. This is generally the case for the very early days while baby is developing. From birth to 3 months, you can expect a baby to sleep up to eighteen hours a day. However, feeding is more important to baby than sleeping, which is why a baby wakes frequently.

3 months onward

Baby’s sleep on and off throughout the day, which can be rather disturbing for the parents, especially where sleep is concerned. As the time goes on and after the first three months a baby’s sleep time is reduced. You can expect a baby of 3 months to a year to sleep up to around fourteen hours throughout a twenty-four hour cycle. This is the time where good sleep habits need to be instilled to create healthy habits for now and later life. Nap times are limited to around three to four naps during the day and evening sleep is prolonged and more sustained.

The toddler years

Around the age of 1 to 3, a toddler ideally needs around twelve to fourteen hours of sleep. A toddler is now able to sleep better at night and should only need two naps during the day, and as a child approaches 3 years of age only one daytime nap is required. More time is spent exploring the world and playing, leaving less time for napping. This encourages good sleep for the evenings. You should expect a 3 year old to get a good eleven hours’ slumber, although this may be closer to ten hours. This can depend on the amount of time the daytime nap goes on for.


Children between 3 to 5 years generally need about twelve hours of sleep. Children of 3 years are still likely to need one nap during the day, and as they approach 5 years of age napping should stop. A good prolonged sleep through the night is to be expected, however, don’t always expect bedtimes to go so well. At this age, children may still struggle to get good quality sleep. To set healthy habits, establish a bedtime routine to prepare your child for sleep. Mastering good sleep habits requires practice.

Up to the teen years

After the age of 5, you can expect a child’s amount of needed sleep to gradually reduce until the teen years. By the time a child reaches 16 years of age, the amount of sleep required is between eight and nine hours. By adulthood it is recommended that eight hours of sleep are needed each night. Teenagers may not always get the recommended amount of sleep due to social life interfering. Good sleep is just as important now, as a teenager is still growing and developing. Good sleep is also needed for healthy brain development.

It can be challenging to establish good sleeping habits in children, as toddlers like to be in control and this doesn’t change as a child reaches the teen years. Getting good sleep is important for healthy growth and development for growing children, as it allows a child to function at optimum best. The brain is constantly developing, along with the body. Sleep also allows the body to repair and rejuvenate, as well as allow the mind to absorb information that has been received during the day. Encourage sleep habits from an early age and continue to do so during the teen years.