The Real amount of Sleep Children NEED

As promised, part two of the sleep series which begins here: Parents: Naughty Kids Need More Sleep and Clever Kids Do Too..

I have no idea where I got this information from, but it seems to be standard and I found it matched our kids’ sleep needs well.

For children who live in an industrial society:

# One month of age: 8.5 hours at night (in bits) and 7.5 hours during the day.

# Three months of age: 6 – 10 hours at night (in bits) and 5-9 hours during the day.

# Six months of age: 11 -12 hours at night (in bits) and 3- 4.5 hours during the day.

#Nine months of age: 11 – 12 hours at night (in bits) and 3 hours during the day – possibly in two nap times.

#12 months of age: 11 – 12 hours at night (possibly still in bits) and 2.5 hours during the day.

#18 months of age: 11 -12 hours at night (Yes, some kids might still be not sleeping through – it’s actually normal – sigh.) and 2.5 hours during the day.

# 2 years of age: 11 – 12 hours at night (if you’ve highly-sensitive babies they might still not be sleeping through) and 2 hours during the day possibly only one nap.

# 3 years of age: 10.5 – 11 hours at night (hopefully sleeping through, but possibly not) and 1.5 hours during the day.

# 4 years of age: 11.5 – 12 hours at night and infrequent daytime sleeps.

# 5 years of age: 11- 12 hours at night and sometimes a daytime sleep.

# 6 years of age: 10.5 – 12 hours at night.

# 7 years of age: 11 – 12 hours at night.

# 8 years of age: 10.5 – 11 hours at night.

# 9 years of age: 10+ hours at night.

# 10 years of age: 9.5 – 10 hours at night.

The easiest way to work out a child’s bedtime is to work out the time they naturally rise (or need to be up) and work backwards. So, a seven year-old who usually wakes at 6.30am would need to be in bed and asleep by 7.30pm at the latest and when busy/tired it’s not silly to have them in bed by 6.15pm. If in doubt go for more sleep rather than less.

Children who are dropping their final sleep can be a bit of an exception for a year or so and I’ll talk about why in the next post in this series.

The recommendations here are for western kids because in many non-industrial societies people sleep in four hourly stretches three times every 24 hours and it seems to work. (Sleep in the middle of the day. Sleep at dusk. Wake near midnight. Sleep before dawn.)

(This is officially how I help put food on the table. If you’ve found this article useful, please feel free to use the Koha button just above my blogroll. Even the smallest amount is appreciated. 🙂 )


About Karyn @ kloppenmum

kloppenmum is me, Karyn Van Der Zwet, mother of three and ex-teacher. I'm part of a revolution in parenting, with the aim to raise mature (not sophisticated) and self-assured children. I also know some stuff about adults. I have also had articles printed in The Journal for The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (Children and Young People) and the US parenting magazine, Pathways to Family Wellness, as well I regularly write for World Moms Blog (named as one of the Forbes 100 most useful blogs for women 2012 &2013). You can follow me on facebook (kloppenmum) pinterest (Karyn at Kloppenmum) and twitter (@kloppenmum). I'm also vaguely on LinkedIn (Karyn Van Der Zwet). Thanks to Joe (Mr Hare) for taking the photo. Cheers, son: xxxx.
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17 Responses to The Real amount of Sleep Children NEED

  1. Totally agree! My kids sleep this much and I am thankful that they don’t need to get up early. If they get less sleep I really notice a difference. I think schools would be so much better if they went for fewer hours and had most of the afternoon to play. 9:30 to 1:30 would be good. 🙂 But nobody asked me.

    • …more’s the pity. We have one extremely early riser (often 5.30am and frequently earlier) so there is no way we could ever manage later nights – although we tried and he just woke up *earlier*! Like managing food intake, I think managing sleep more effectively would solve a multitude of behaviour and learning difficulties. Thanks for your comment. 🙂

  2. tanoshinde says:

    Wonder in the Woods wrote: “I think schools would be so much better if they went for fewer hours and had most of the afternoon to play. 9:30 to 1:30 would be good.” Amen! i think that would also be much more developmentally appropriate, especially for younger kids.

    Then again, I also think most adults don’t sleep anywhere near enough, and would benefit from a shorter work day with more time for play. I’ve read in a couple of places that in the few remaining ‘hunter-gatherer’ societies, people tend to do their kind of work about fourteen hours … a *week.* We in the ‘developed’ world imagine they must spend every minute of their lives working for their survival, but apparently only we in the ‘developed’ world are that crazy 😀

    • Yes, I agree on the adults not gettting enough sleep either. I managed to get around 10 hours last night, and man! what a difference this morning…
      Electricity has a lot to answer for: all the pushing ones own body to ‘do’ everything and electronic-addictions which many people don’t even recognise…I have heard that about hunter-gatherers as well. It fascinates me that I get some sideways glances from people when I keep our kids home from school because they’re exhausted (and surely unable to concentrate and perhaps unable to function with some degree of kindness to others) – as it’s apparently not teaching them about the real-world – personally I’d rather they learned to listen to their bodies and know when to rest – but that’s another whole post!!

  3. Marcy says:

    We’re going to set Amy’s bedtime a half hour earlier and see what happens. I’m still mulling over how to set up a quiet time for us in the afternoon so I can get my needed silence and alone time, and so she can get something that will be restful.

    By the way, I wrote in my blog the other day about power vs comfort and a successful discerning moment:

    I didn’t get hit or kicked today. Woo-hoo!

  4. Pingback: The Real amount of Sleep Children NEED (via kloppenmum) « Scaredmom's Blog

  5. IfByYes says:

    Babby has always had issues in the sleep department. When he was two weeks old (for serious – I have sleep logs to back this up) he was getting 10 or 12 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. Often, during the day, he would be awake for 5,6,7, even 8 hours at a time. Screaming from overtiredness the whole time, of course, but purely unable to sleep, no matter how much I rocked, sang, nursed, and walked.

    Now it’s a little better – he naps during the day now, at least, but it’s a struggle to get him down…

    • Oh that *is* hard on you. Our Mr Owl wasn’t the greatest sleeper either and it was a real endurance test for me. If it’s any consolation – he now (age six) our easiest to get to sleep and he stays alseep. Thankgoodness.

    • Oh that *is* hard on you. Our Mr Owl was our one most like that and I must say I am so pleased that stage has finished for us. Where do you sit on the pacifier debate? Because we have used one a lot with Mr Butterfly when he stirs or wakes a little and it has made a huge difference.

  6. Juliana says:

    So true. I don’t know why people regularly short their children on sleep. It’s really better for everyone if the kids are well rested!

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