How much sleep should your child be getting each night?

Experts suggest young children get more sleep for growth

We all know sleep is important to a healthy lifestyle, especially as children, since sleep is the primary activity during early development. However, many children lack the amount of recommended sleep. Why is this? How much should your child be getting each night? Let’s discover what’s going on.

Studies suggest that newborns should be getting 15 to 18 hours of sleep per night while one to 12 months should get 14. Children three to six years should be getting 10 to 12 hours with seven to 12 years of age getting 10 to 11 hours. Kids 12 to 18 should receive eight to nine hours, like adults are projected to get each night.

Lack of sleep can result in a variety of health factors. Some include crankiness, weight gain, inability to concentrate, slower response time, weakened immune system, lack of growth, and tiredness.

“A loss of one hour of sleep is equivalent to [the loss of] two years cognitive maturation and development,” says Avi Sadeh, a licensed clinical child and family psychologist who was a pioneer in the field of pediatric sleep and actigraphy.

Toddlers have a drive for independence and an increase in motor, cognitive and social skills that can cause them to lose sleep. A child’s imagination, such as having ghosts under their bed, claiming they’re hearing voices or nightmares, could prevent them from sleeping. Naps and behavior problems may signal poor sleep, as well as homework, busy schedules, unenforced bedtimes and sleeping disorders. Keeping electronics out of the bedroom is another huge factor in toddlers’ losing sleep, so it’s important for parents to work with their child to figure out what’s best for them.

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