Your Child's Sleep Needs As They Age: A Guide


At 5 Little Monkeys, we're proud to help kids everywhere get better sleep with our custom-designed children's mattress. But our mission is to support children's sleep in every arena, and that includes helping parents understand what their children need for proper sleep. Critically, those needs change as a child grows and develops. If you're unsure of exactly what your child needs for healthy sleep, here's a simple guide to your child's changing sleep needs as they age! From toddler to teen, we have you covered.

How Much Sleep Do Babies Need?

Sleep is important throughout a child's life, but it's particularly crucial during infancy and the earliest years of life. Part of the reason for that is biological: human beings have adopted a relatively unique evolutionary strategy among mammals. In order to support our super-charged brains, we actually birth our children much earlier than most animals would, when they're still developing physically and mentally. That's why a baby giraffe can run immediately after being born, whereas it takes a human baby a year to learn to walk!

What this means is that when your child is a baby, they'll need a lot of sleep to support this growth and development. A newborn should sleep for about 16 hours per day, with that number gradually decreasing to about 12 hours by age 3 or so. Keep in mind that this much sleep doesn't necessarily need to happen in one sitting: this number is a cumulative total for your child's nightly sleep and any naps they take during the day.

How Much Sleep Do Kids Need?

As your child enters grade school and childhood, they won't need quite the same quantity of sleep, but it's still critical. Children should get roughly 11 or 12 hours of sleep between ages 3 and 5, with the number decreasing to about 10 hours by the time they reach their teenage years. The increasing demands of school can make this sleep schedule difficult, but as a parent, it's important to ensure your child gets the proper sleep they need for healthy development.

How Much Sleep Do Teenagers Need?

So, once your child reaches adolescence, are they ready for the regularly-scheduled 7-8 hours that adults need? Not even close! The body goes through massive changes during adolescence, and teenagers need a good 9 or 10 hours each night to support that. Unfortunately, society is not on our side here: with many schools starting class as early as 7 or earlier, it's hard to make sure your child gets the right amount of sleep. Still, do what you can to help your child get at least 8-9, and ideally closer to 10 hours of sleep per day. This will help with their cognitive, mental, emotional, and physical development, producing a lasting effect for the rest of their life.

Contact Your Children's Mattress Experts

We hope you found this guide helpful, and in a society that tends to privilege academic achievement and success over healthy sleep habits, we hope it serves as a reminder that a kids #1 job is to be a kid – and that includes getting enough sleep. If you're looking for more help in that department, we've created a world-class children's mattress designed to support kids by giving growing bodies what they need for a healthy night of sleep. Contact us today to learn more about our children's mattress, or if you're interested in seeing the difference for yourself, try our kids bedding risk-free for 100 nights!