How Much Sleep?


Children need more sleep than adults to support their rapid mental and physical development and most parents know that their preschooler doesn’t need as much sleep as she did when she was younger, but the confusion lies in how much sleep is enough?, is my child getting enough sleep? and what does loss of sleep do to their little one?.

On top of the confusion, some parents find it hard to know when their ward needs to sleep ( not the parents fault) as these little children often do not stop playing, they may appear tired and all, resisting bedtime and becoming hyper as the evening goes on, but most children within this age group just continue acting and playing, making you confused about how and when they should be sleeping. All this can happen because the child is overtired.

Over the years and up until now, studies have differed on how much sleep is best for children at various ages, but one thing remains clear, sleep is important and crucial to the development of children.

For a long time, the paediatric sleep community has recommended that children three to five years old need 11 to 13 hours, children five to 10 years old need 10 to 11 hours, and adolescents 10 to 17 years need eight-and-a-half to nine-and-a-half hours of sleep each night. But new studies claims that less is actually more when it comes to neonate and teen sleep totals. The scientists analyzed nearly 2,000 school children, and found that the kids who performed best academically were sleeping less as they got older.

All of these studies makes it more difficult to know how much sleep is enough. So, we have provided a guideline to how much sleep your preschooler should be getting. Also remember that just as children differ in a lot of things, sleep needs in children of the same age group are also not the same. 

Sometimes loss of sleep in children is caused by a psychiatric condition, such as attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or a sleep disorder known as sleep apnea– which most people think of as an adult sleep disorder. A person who has sleep apnea wakes up many times every hour, very briefly, as they struggle to breathe. Most people do not know they are experiencing these events unless they are told or have a test to confirm sleep apnea. Children who snore may be at risk for or currently suffering from sleep apnea.

How much sleep?

A preschooler or kindergartner who has outgrown napping needs a solid 10 to 13 hours of sleep each night, an amount that will gradually decrease as he gets older. By the time he’s about 14, your child will need eight to 10 hours of shut-eye.

Is my child sleep deprived?

Your child may be sleep deprived if she:

  • Falls asleep most times while riding in the car
  • Cannot wake up on her own every morning
  • Seems tired, restless and cranky throughout the day

If you answered yes to any of these questions, your child may not be getting as much sleep as his body needs. To change this pattern, you’ll need to help him develop good sleep habits, like developing a consistent bedtime routine, setting an appropriate bedtime, and sticking to both every night.



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