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MSD Nurses share info about sleep as a health issue

Studies show that school-aged children, especially teens, get less than the recommended amounts of sleep. What are the recommended amounts of sleep for you and your children? Is everyone in your home hitting those target hours? If not, it’s never too late to slide bedtime back a little earlier in order to make sleep health a priority in your home.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine provides some helpful guidelines regarding just how much sleep children need at different stages in their development. Keep in mind that these numbers reflect total sleep hours in a 24-hour period.

How Much Sleep Do Kids Need?

  • Infants (4 to 12 months old) 

    12 to 16 hours (including naps)

  • Toddlers (1 to 2 years old)

    11 to 14 hours (including naps)

  • Preschoolers (3 to 5 years old)

    10 to 13 hours (including naps)

  • Gradeschoolers (6 to 12 years old)

    9 to 12 hours

  • Teens (13 to 18 years old)

    8 to 10 hours

Each hour of lost sleep adds up, night after night and you never get them back. This is called “sleep debt.”

Sleep debt is critical because research shows that a lack of sleep over time contributes to health problems such as obesity, depression, diabetes, stroke, substance abuse, hypertension and heart disease. Sleep debt also causes the more familiar difficulties in concentration, memory, control of emotion, and reduced reaction time.

Tips for Getting More Sleep

  • Avoid phones, TVs, tablets, computers for an hour before bedtime.
  • Have a regular, relaxing bedtime routine and create a calm atmosphere (ex. bathing, reading, playing calm music, turning the lights down)
  • Go to bed at the same time every night, seven days a week.
  • Get enough exercise – in the morning or late afternoon.
  • Make the bedroom a quiet, dark and relaxing environment.
  • Model good sleep hygiene for your children.



American Academy of Pediatrics. (2020, November 16). Healthy sleep habits: How many hours does your child need?  Healthy Children. 

University of Washington. (2022). Creating healthy sleep habits for your family.