“Sleep” is important to child development because growth hormones will be secreted during the night. If a child is not getting enough rest, her growth hormones may not be fully secreted, leading to slow development. Each child requires different sleeping pattern depending on their age. You will notice that babies tend to require more sleep, while older children requires lesser sleep.
0 – 3 Months Old
Newborns will spend most of their time sleeping, mostly between 16 to 20 hours per day. They usually wake every 2 – 3 hours to have some milk and then fall right back to sleep. Initially, they will sleep more during the day and there is no specific sleep pattern, which tends to wear out anxious new parents. But they will finally adjust their sleep pattern so that they sleep more in the night time.
3 – 6 Months Old
As babies grow, they will spend less time sleeping during the day, but they still need breastfeeding in the middle of the night. They will get about 15 – 16 hours of sleep per day on average. So babies will sleep through the night. In such case, there is no need to wake them up to breastfeed because they already had plenty of milk to get them through the night.
6 – 12 Months Old
Babies are now able to sleep through the night like older children without waking up to drink milk. They may also take short naps about twice a day. They require 13 – 14 hours of sleep per day.
1 – 5 Years Old
Toddlers can now sleep through the night like adults and only require one nap of 1 – 2 hours. Their total rest time is 12 – 13 hours per day.
6 – 10 Years Old
Once children enter primary school, naps are no longer necessary. It is recommended that they get to bed by 8 PM to stimulate their growth hormone production. They should get 10 – 11 hours of sleep per night.
11 – 18 Years Old
Once children enter their teenage years, their need for sleep decreases. However, they should still get about 8 – 9 hours of shut eyes per day.
Children who get plenty of rest will have good mood and can learn better. Try checking out how many hours your children get to sleep each night.
M.D., Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University