Sleep is vital for everyone’s brain health, but especially for growing and developing children. Without enough sleep, certain brain functions may not work as effectively as they otherwise could.
How much sleep does my child need?
- Newborns to three months should sleep 10 1/2 to 18 hours a day, but they don't have a regular schedule. They may sleep from a few minutes to several hours at one time.
- Babies four to 11 months should start to sleep through the night, for 9 to 12 hours at a time. They should also take naps throughout the day, ranging from 30 minutes to 2 hours.
- Toddlers one to two years need about 11 to 14 hours a day. Most of this should happen at night, but they should also take a nap (or naps) during the day.
- Children three to five should get 11 to 13 hours a night. Their naps should get shorter and happen less often. Most kids don't nap past age five.
- Children six to 13 need nine to 11 hours of shuteye. Homework and electronic devices keep kids busy at this age, so it's important to set a sleep schedule and enforce a regular bedtime routine.
- Teenagers 14 and up need eight to 10 hours of sleep. Their circadian rhythms shift around the time they hit puberty, so they may find it hard to fall asleep as early as they used to.
Children who aren’t sleeping enough may have trouble paying attention in school. They may start to have behaviour problems, such as tantrums or extreme reactions to small events, at both school and home.
Top bedtime tips
- A warm bath before bedtime will help your child relax
- Dim the lights - this encourages the body to produce the sleep hormone, melatonin
- Establish the same bedtime routine every night
- Read a story together before bed
- Limit the use of the smartphones, tablets, TVs, computers, gaming machines etc in the hour before bed
If you are struggling to get your child to sleep come into one of our family centres. Here staff will give you a few tips to make bedtime easier, as well as talk through the issues you are facing.