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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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