Sign up and enjoy 25% off and be the first to find out about other discounts, giveaways, and nutrition advice from our experts.
*25% discount available with a code on your first order. By completing this form you are signing up to receive our emails and can unsubscribe at any time.
How Many Hours of Sleep Do Kids Need?
Jan 21, 2022
Kids' HealthSleep Tips
Quick Health Scoop
Between 34-78% of children of all ages don’t get enough good quality sleep [1,2]
Inadequate sleep can lead to a variety of health and sleep problems, including irritabilityHow many hours of sleep do children need? Sleep requirements depend on their age, with newborns and toddlers needing the most
Parents can improve their child’s sleep by helping to establish good sleep habits, such as establishing a consistent bedtime and monitoring screen time
While we all function better when we get enough sleep, children, in particular, need to consistently get adequate sleep to learn, function, and develop. However, research shows that 34% of children and 78% of high school students don’t get adequate sleep on a typical school night.[1,2]
And insufficient sleep leads to a variety of health and sleep problems. For children, poor sleep can trigger stress and irritability, negatively affect learning and decision-making, and can elevate anxiety. Insufficient sleep is also associated with an increase in high blood pressure, injuries, type-2 diabetes, obesity, attention and behavior problems, and depression—especially for teenagers who face increased risk of self-harm or suicidal thoughts.[4,5]
But how many hours of sleep do kids need? How will sleep benefit kids? And what can you do to help improve your child’s sleep quality?
Let’s dig into the research for answers.
How Much Sleep Do Kids Need By Age?
For starters, it helps to know what the sleep requirements are for kids. Can your preschooler develop normally with 12 hours of sleep? Is eight hours of sleep enough for an 11-year old? Can your high schooler get by on six hours of sleep a night? The amount of kids’ daily sleep needs varies by age. The National Sleep Foundation offers these sleep recommendations:
Recommended Hours of Sleep Per Day
Newborn (0-3 months)
Infant (4-12 months)
12–15 hours per 24 hours (including naps)
Toddler (1-2 years)
11–14 hours per 24 hours (including naps)
Preschool (3-5 years)
10–13 hours per 24 hours (including naps)
School Age (6-12 years)
9–11 hours per 24 hours
Teen (13-18 years)
8–10 hours per 24 hours
Source: National Sleep Foundation
How Will Sleep Benefit My Child?
Getting adequate sleep contributes to a child’s health in many ways:[3,5,7]
Improves focus, alertness, and concentration
Boosts academic performance
Improves performance in sports (i.e., faster, stronger, and more accurate)
Enhances overall well-being with a more optimistic attitude
Helps maintain healthy weight
Supports healthy immune system
Improves behavior, memory, and mental health
And, as any parent knows, when kids’ sleep quality improves, family life is better for everyone!
How Can I Help My Child’s Sleep?
Your child’s behaviors during the day—especially before bedtime—can play a major role in the quality of the child’s sleep at night. You can help your child get a good night's sleep by establishing some sleep habits that, hopefully, will last a lifetime. Try these ideas from health experts.[8,9,10]
Establish a consistent bedtime routine to help your child prepare for sleep. This might include a warm bath, spending quiet time with parents, and reading books. Even older children need a healthy bedtime routine.
Aim for a bedtime that allows your child to get the recommended amount of sleep for his or her age. (See chart above.)
Create a regular sleep schedule. The wake/sleep time should not vary by more than 30-45 minutes—even on weekends.
Create a relaxing space that invites sleep. Your child’s bedroom should be calm, dark, quiet, and at a comfortable, cool temperature.
Dim lighting before bedtime.
Avoid electronic devices (including TV, computer, cell phone, tablet, and gaming system) at least 60 minutes before bedtime.
Avoid large meals, caffeine, and sugary drinks late in the day.
Of course, you should also set a good example for your child to follow by making sleep a priority for yourself. If you don’t follow some of the tips above, incorporate them into your own bedtime routine to model what good “sleep hygiene” looks like. In doing so, you’re demonstrating that good sleep is part of a healthy lifestyle, just like exercising regularly, eating healthy, and, if needed, taking vitamin supplements.
With so many kids (of all ages) not getting enough sleep, it’s important to understand the effects of poor sleep on their health. Insufficient sleep can cause stress, increase obesity, and negatively impact school performance. How many hours of sleep should kids get? It depends on their age, with babies and toddlers needing the most sleep and teens needing the least. Fortunately, parents can help kids improve their sleep by creating good sleep habits, such as establishing a consistent bedtime, creating a bedtime routine, and monitoring screen time. Teach kids that good sleep habits are part of a healthy lifestyle that includes plenty of physical activity; eating lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains (for meals and snacks); and, if needed, taking vitamin supplements.
Continue to check back on the Nature Made blog for the latest science-backed articles to help you take ownership of your health.
Melissa is a registered dietitian (RD) and works in our Medical and Scientific Communications department as a Science and Health Educator. She has worked for Pharmavite for over 20 years educating consumers, healthcare practitioners, retailers and employees about nutrition, dietary supplements and overall wellness. Prior to joining the Medical and Scientific Communications team, Melissa launched and managed Pharmavite’s Consumer Relations department. Melissa received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Science, from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, and completed her dietetic internship at Veterans Affairs Medical Center in East Orange New Jersey.
Lisa Beach is a seasoned journalist whose work has been published in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Eating Well, Parents, AARP’s Disrupt Aging, Optimum Wellness, and dozens more. She also writes for a variety of health/wellness-focused brands. Check out her writer’s website at www.LisaBeachWrites.com.
Automatically receive 50% off your second item when you purchase any two Nature Made® products from the Women's Health collection. 5/1-5/24. Offer excludes tax. Orders outside of the contiguous US, including Alaska & Hawaii will be charged $8 for shipping
Free Shipping $25 & Over
When you purchase $25 or more you will automatically get free shipping applied to your order. Offer excludes tax. Orders outside of the contiguous US, including Alaska & Hawaii will be charged $8 for shipping.
Subscribe & Save 10% Off
Get 10% discount on every order. Select the Subscribe & Save options, then add to cart for instant savings! Offer excludes tax. Orders outside of the contiguous US, including Alaska & Hawaii will be charged $8 for shipping.
Choosing a selection results in a full page refresh.