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How Many Hours of Sleep Does Your Child Need?

Do you know how many hours of sleep are recommend for your child?  Did you know that the hours are vastly different for an infant or toddler than for school aged children and teenagers?  Although sleep needs do vary from person to person, there are some reasonable, science-based guidelines from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) to help you determine whether your child is getting the sleep he or she needs to grow, learn, and play.

If you have any questions or concerns about your child and their sleep habits, please see your pediatrician or come in to Pediatric Urgent Care.

For infants to to 12 months, it is recommended they get 12-16 hours including naps. Toddlers (1-3 years old) need 11-14 hours including naps. Preschoolers need 10-13 hours (this can also include naps). School aged children (6 to 12 years old) need 9 to 12 hours a night while teenagers need 8-10 hours at least.

These numbers might be surprising and it’s tempting to think that you kids could get by with less sleep, or that they should be able to cope fairly well with a few skipped hours here and there. Maybe, but all children thrive on a regular bedtime routine. Also regular sleep deprivation often leads to some difficult behaviors and health problems, including irritability, difficult concentrating, obesity, headaches, and depression. Children who get enough sleep have a healthier immune system, better school performance, better behavior overall, stronger memory, and improved mental health.

To help encourage and support good sleep habits make sleep a family priority and make sure you are seeing a good example for your kids with your own sleep habits. Keep to a regular routine throughout the day and night, even on weekends if at all possible. Make sure your children are active throughout the day with interesting and varied activities. Monitor screen time and turn off all screens 30 minutes before bedtime. Create a sleep-supportive and safe bedroom by keeping the lights dim prior to bedtime and controlling the temperature to keep it cooler. Don’t fill up your child’s bed with toys or stuffed animals, one or two favorite things is fine and comforting.

Avoid over scheduling your children, especially school aged and teenagers who are dealign with homework and after school activities like sports, music lessons, and maybe even a part time job. Make sure your kids have the time they need to wind down before bedtime. If sleep becomes an issue, talk to your child’s pediatrician to discuss sleep problems, they might be easily treated.

Mesa Pediatric Urgent Care and Gilbert Pediatric Urgent Care

It can be scary any time your child is sick, but rest assured that AllKids Urgent Care is here to help guide you every step of the way with a caring and knowledgeable pediatric staff. Both our Gilbert Pediatric Urgent Care and our Mesa Pediatric Urgent Care are open every day, from noon to 10 p.m. No appointment is necessary, just stop in and start your child on the road back to health.

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