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How Much Sleep Does My Child Need??

This is a very commonly asked question by parents.  Most parents I speak to underestimate how much sleep their child requires. In fact, when I tell them the number of hours their children need, they are generally shocked. Even children who fall asleep easily and stay asleep through the night may not always be getting enough sleep. The effects of this may not be immediate. However, the impact of sleep deprivation show up in various forms and it is not always easy later on to understand that the root cause of the problem is sleep deprivation.

Most sleep experts would agree on the following generally recommended number of hours of sleep (including naps) based on the age of the infants / children.

  • 0 - 3 Months

Total Sleep: 16 - 19 hours combined through the day and night

  • 3 - 6 Months

Total Sleep: 14 – 16 hours (10 - 11 hours Night Sleep + 4 - 5 hours from 3 Naps)

  • 6 - 14 Months

Total Sleep: 14 hours (10 - 12 hours Night Sleep + 2 - 3 hours from 2 Naps)

  • 15 Month - 3 Years

Total Sleep: 12 - 14 hours (11 - 12 hours Night Sleep + 1.5 - 3 hours from 1 Nap)

  • 3 - 6 Years

Total Sleep: 10 - 12 hours

Many kids start to drop their daytime naps after age 3.  It is best to allow your child to gradually drop their afternoon naps when they are ready - but as a parents do make sure your childs total sleep hours is maintained.

Total hours of sleep as indicated above includes night sleep and day time naps. However, naps and night sleep both have their own distinct roles when it comes to your child's physical and mental development. In general, it is best to make sure your child is not regularly sleeping too little at night and over compensating for it by long naps during the day.  This is generally not considered a healthy sleeping habit.