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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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Jane Dizon

Nurse, Ninja Mom, Digital Marketing Specialist and Writer

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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