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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 December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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