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Published on October 3, 2018

How Much Sleep Do Kids Need for a Productive Day?

How Much Sleep Do Kids Need for a Productive Day?

The age old question of any parent with children—how much sleep do kids need?

Have you asked this yourself, or been told a whole range of answers that left you more confused than before? Sleep is vital; Not only to our health but also due to the impact our sleep quality and duration has on our ability to move through our daily lives with energy and clarity.

When it comes to growing children, it’s even more important to know how much sleep is right for them. Children do a massive amount of developing in their sleep, babies especially, and since the daily routine of a child is incredibly active—learning about the world in an intense way—rest for them is necessary to productively move throughout their day.[1]

The energetic growing and learning needs of each child of any age varies considerably. From infants and toddlers, to early and middle school age, all the way up to late teens, the amount of sleep needed for each age range is different.

One of the biggest changes that happen during sleep is that our body undergoes big transformation. Speaking to body composition experts, they say that our cells are replenishing and rebuilding in our sleep, our internal organs are doing their work to metabolize energy, detox and absorb what we’ve eaten and how we’ve moved during the day.[2]

Beyond this, kids experience a whole other level of body transformation as they are literally growing new tissue and muscle fibers, their bones are changing and forming, and their brains evolve during these rest periods. Anyone who has had seen a baby grow knows that every day they look a little different, their body transformation is so fast!

Let’s look at the different stages of development, and the recommended amount of sleep by experts. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), and the Millpond Children’s Sleep Clinic, the different stages of child development require the following amount of sleep time in the space of 24 hours.[3] [4] [5]

Newborns

We all know that babies sleep most of the time. But why?

Since they’re newborns, they haven’t formed their own biological clock, or circadian rhythm, to signal when evening and daytime is. Below are the recommended hours of sleep for newborns:

1 week: 16-17 hours

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1-4 months: 14-16 hours

Not recommended: Sleep less than 11 hours can be detrimental to the growth and development of a newborn.

Infants

This is when the babies are able to sleep for longer periods of time, rather than waking constantly. Though any parent will know that general sleep rhythms are not going to be the same for every baby. Below are the recommended hours of sleep for infants:

4-12 months: 12-16 hours, with very regular naps.

Not recommended: Sleep less than 10 hours can be detrimental to the growth and development of infants.

Toddlers and Preschoolers

At this stage, kids are getting more active which means the sleeping schedule is even more important. This is a time of big learning, with talking and interacting in a more social way, they need to have enough rest hours, with long sleeps at night and 2 naps per day, to get enough restoration to be productive in this stage of life.

Below are the recommended hours of sleep for toddlers and preschoolers:

1-2 years: 12-14 hours

Not recommended: Sleep less than 10 hours or more than 16 hours can be detrimental to the growth and development of toddlers.

3-5 years: 11-13 hours

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Not recommended: Sleep less than 9 hours or more than 14 hours can be detrimental to the growth and development of preschoolers.

Grade Schoolers

They will probably start to bargain about staying up a little later now as they grow, though it’s still essential to give your child a consistent and sufficient sleep schedule. Below are the recommended hours of sleep for grade schoolers:

6-12 years: 9-12 hours

Not recommended: Sleep less than 8 hours can affect the quality of grade schooler’s productivity and learning.

Teens and Young Adults

At this age, kids are still growing and developing, especially male young adults, even up to 25 years of age. As these stage, they are also still in quite intensive schooling, don’t underestimate their sleep needs.5 Below are the recommended hours of sleep for teens and young adults:

13-18 years: 8-10 hours

Not recommended: Sleep less than 7 hours can affect the quality of a teen’s productivity and learning.

18-25 years: 8-9 hours

Not recommended: Sleep less than 6 hours can affect the quality of a young adults productivity and learning.

Healthy Sleep Habits for You and Your Kids

Since working adults generally average about five to six hours of sleep, these numbers may seem astounding. Children really do thrive when they have a regular bedtime ritual and sleep schedule, and even though we can survive the day without enough sleep, for our kids, it affects their ability to learn and interact.

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Plus, we may think we are fine with little sleep but how much coffee do you have before you feel ready and energized? Or how often do you wake up and wish you had longer to sleep in?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers some healthy habits for an effective sleep ritual:

Set an example

Your children constantly learn from your actions. Be their role model and show them good bedtime and morning habits.

Asking how how they slept in the morning is also a good way to express how important sleep is, and that a good sleep is a good thing.

Keep a regular routine

This applies for waking, meal, nap, play and sleep time. Your child will feel relaxed and comfortable with a consistent bedtime routine where they know what to expect. Especially around bedtime, do the same routine, whether that’s a bath, story or family time.

Try to stick to the same sleep and waking times as much as possible.

Get active with your child

Throughout the day, help them use their bounding energy by being active with your kids.

Play outside, go for walks, keep it varied and most importantly, have fun! This will also help burn out their youthful energy so they are ready to sleep when it’s time.

Strict screen time

Limit all screen time

, including computers, TVs, laptops, tablets and phones out of children’s bedroom at all times if possible, or at the very least, in the evening.

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This way, the blue light exposure (which creates an awakened and energized body response) does not interrupt their sleep, turn of all screens at least an hour before sleep.

Let them have that extra 5 minutes of sleep

Ever get frustrated with the amount of time your teenager spends in bed? Maybe the word ‘lazy’ has crossed our mind or lips. High school age teens do still need a lot of sleep.

Generally, their energy usage is very high physically and mentally with their school, social and activity schedules, and they are still growing. Know that they need more sleep than you, and it could help to relax a little more about their difficulty waking up or their love of sleeping in.

Be mindful of their out-of-school activities

As parents, it’s your job to be aware of how active your children are, especially with afternoon and evening sports, lessons and play dates.

Too much activity can present a challenge for their sleep if not enough time is spent winding down at the end of the day .

Conclusion

Kids at different age have different needs, so they may not be needing the same hours of sleep as they grow up.

But no matter how long they need to sleep, it’s important to keep sleeping a regular routine for both kids and parents. Kids learn from their parents and if parents aren’t sleeping till late night, kids will also stay out late because they simply look up to their parents.

Featured photo credit: Jelleke Vanooteghem via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Sleep Foundation: How Much Sleep do Babies and Kids Need
[2]Ultimate Performance: Body Transformation
[3]Healthy Children: Healthy Sleep Habits
[4]WebMD: How Much Sleep Do Children Need
[5]NHS: How Much Sleep Do Kids Need

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Last Updated on December 13, 2018

12 Practical Tips To Stay Fit For Christmas

12 Practical Tips To Stay Fit For Christmas

Christmas is approaching fast, and lots of people not only tend to ruin their usual diets, but they also gain a few extra pounds. Based on studies, the majority of people tend to gain additional weight during the holiday season that starts at the Thanksgiving Day and ends with the New Year celebrations. Excessive eating is claimed to be the main cause for the additional weight gain, but it is also due to lack of physical activity and exercise.

A lot of individuals out there tend to set aside their fitness routines during the holidays since they believe that they do not have enough time to perform their workouts. And because they feel guilty after the holiday season, most of the gyms and fitness centers are packed with fresh members. Always bear in mind that you can still enjoy the holidays and stay fit at the same time. If you want to stay fit during the holiday season, especially during Christmas and the New Year’s Eve, here are some useful tips that might help you:

1. Eat Before Heading Out

First, it is best that you eat something before heading out to visits, trips or family dinners. By doing so, you will no longer be tempted to eat a lot or overindulge yourself since you have already eaten. Skipping on meals is not a good idea either, because you will only be forced to eat more later.

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2. Select The Treats

Make sure to select the treats that you eat in a wise manner. You should choose something that you can only enjoy during the holiday season and not something that is readily available all the time.

3. Avoid Skipping Meals

Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast! Even though it can be tempting to skip on certain meals, believing that it will make up for the treats you consumed in the previous day, don’t do it because it will only lead to counterproductive results.

4. Drink With Moderation

It is best to regulate your drinking since alcohol, coke or other juices will only add more calories to the ones you already eaten!

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5. Be Active

You should still perform your fitness routine whenever possible and if you can’t do that, simply walk more, park your car some distance away from the store or just use the stairs!

6. Get Out Of The House

Make the holidays a family affair and plan outdoor activities where everyone is involved. Even a snowball fight in the backyard will burn a lot of calories and will keep the children entertained.

7. Don’t Skip Your Strength Workouts

Always remember to perform your strength training in order to maintain that muscle mass you worked hard to get. You might be tempted to use lightweights and just do some cardio, but you can burn just as many calories by lifting weights. And with all of those extra stakes you had on the holiday meals, you might even gain some extra muscle. And this is much better than gaining some extra fat.

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8. Set Realistic Goals

You should set realistic exercise objectives. Aim for at least half an hour per day and you will be very happy when you will achieve that. If you plan one hour or more and not achieve it, you will only end up disappointed.

9. Enjoy Yourself

Also make sure to set realistic diet plans! Trying to restrain yourself totally from some foods will only make you eat more. Feel free to enjoy the treats that you really love, but in small portions.

10. Drink A Lot Of Water

This can satiate your appetite as well as keep you hydrated at all times. And it will also prevent a possible hangover if you overdo it with alcohol.

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11. Eat Less And More Often

Distribute your meals evenly throughout the day, and do not eat everything at once.  Instead of having 2 enormous meals, have 5 small ones.  Eat your dinner earlier and have a nice walk before going to bed.

12. Prioritize Your Workouts

Try to do them early in the morning while everyone else is still sleeping. This way you will also avoid remarks like “Oh, come on! It’s Christmas…”

So there you go! Twelve simple tips that will help you avoid gaining weight during the winter holidays, but will also allow you to enjoy yourself and have a great time with your loved ones.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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