little boy in bed, bedtime

From the time a child is born to their ascent into teenage years, sleep plays an important role in their development. Studies show that while each child has varying needs when it comes to sleep, there are scientific guidelines that help outline the proper amount of sleep children need at each age. These age-based sleep guidelines are meant to help ensure your child has enough sleep to grow, learn and thrive in their environments. 


Children’s sleep needs change throughout the different developmental stages. These guidelines from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) are made based on a 24 hour day, so if your child is still napping, those hours should be added into the total sleep hours. 

4-12 Months: 12 to 16 hours, including naps 

1-2 Years: 11 to 14 hours, including naps

3-5 Years: 10 to 13 hours, including naps

6-12 Years: 9 to 12 hours

13-18 Years: 8 to 10 hours

When totaled and written down, this might seem like a lot of time, especially for children who still nap. But for children, these hours of sleep and a regular nap and sleep schedule are critical to proper development and a healthy childhood. 

If children don’t receive the proper amount of sleep on a regular basis, behavioral and health problems could incur. Without healthy sleep habits, children could be prone to difficulty concentrating, irritability, and other mood instabilities as well as headaches. With the right amount of sleep, children are more likely to have a healthier immune system in addition to better mental and physical health.

Healthy sleep habits start in the home when families make sure getting the proper amount of sleep is a top priority. This step can be taken by maintaining a daily schedule. That includes waking up, eating breakfast, finding time to get outside and be active as well as nightime routines like eating dinner, cleaning up, bath or shower time, reading books and then getting to bed at a decent hour every night. 

In addition to these healthy sleep habits, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “recommends keeping all screens—TVs, computers, laptops, tablets, and phones out of children’s bedrooms, especially at night. To prevent sleep disruption, turn off all screens at least 60 minutes/1 hour before bedtime.”

If you notice that your child seems to be tired, struggling to keep up in school or irritable, try monitoring their sleep habits to make sure they are sleeping well through the night without problems like snoring, heavy or loud breathing, sleep apnea or difficulty getting to sleep. 

Make An Appointment

If you have questions about your child’s sleep habits, we are here to help. Give our office a call at (919) 896-7066 to talk to a team member about making an appointment.

At HealthPark Pediatrics, the health and safety of our staff and patients is our top concern. We are taking steps to ensure that you and your child will be safe while visiting our office. This includes using a separate entrance for sick visits, limiting the number of staff and physicians, observing social distancing guidelines, and offering telemedicine visits.