How Much Sleep Does Your Child Need?

Chronic sleep problems in children and teens can seriously compromise school performance. Sleepy youngsters are more accident-prone, too. But young people rarely recognize that they need more sleep. Many kids eagerly stay up late no matter how early their morning wake-up alarm is set.

Do you know how much sleep your child needs? The number of hours in a 24-hour period varies based on a child's age. Review the chart below to see how much sleep your child needs and to learn more about his or her sleep patterns. 

Age Average sleep per 24 hrs. Sleep patterns
Newborns 16 to 20 hours
  • 1-to 4-hour sleep periods followed by 1- to 2-hour awake periods
  • Newborns needs as much sleep during the day as they do at night
Infant (up to 1 year) Total of 14 to 15 hours at 4 months, and 13 to 14 hours at 6 months
  • 3- to 4-hour sleep periods the first three months, 6- to 8-hour sleep periods between 4 and 6 months
  • Day/night differentiation develops between 6 weeks and 3 months
  • At 9 months, about three-quarters will "settle" and sleep through the night
  • 2 to 4 hours of naptime, divided between 2 naps a day
Toddlers (1 to 3 years) 12 hours, total Night sleep plus 1 nap of 1.5 to 3.5 hours
Preschool (3 to 6 years) 11 to 12 hours Napping declines, usually ending around 5 years of age
Middle Childhood 6 to 12 years) 10 to 11 hours
  • Low levels of daytime sleepiness
  • Increased discrepancy between school night and non-school night sleep amounts
Adolescence (12 years and older) 9 hours are ideal, but 7 hours more typical
  • sleep schedule often becomes irregular
  • Puberty changes the circadian phases (sleeping-and-waking cycles), making bedtimes later and rise times earlier