Everyone needs sleep. Babies, teenagers, and even adults need a minimum of 7-8 hours a day in order to function. While sleep helps you stay awake and go about your day, it is also important for your health. Studies have linked cardiovascular disease, depression, and obesity to insufficient or inadequate sleep.
Sleep is even more important for babies and children. It is crucial for an array of bodily functions. While your child sleeps, his body is secreting hormones to grow; working on the immune system; and retaining, storing, and organizing memories. Most of this occurs when our children are in REM mode (deep sleep) . In order to get to REM sleep, your child needs to go through the stages of “light sleep” (NREM) that happen at the onset of sleep. If your child is only taking a 30-minute nap, he hasn’t fully transitioned to the deep part of sleep, and isn’t fully resting.
Just like they need the night sleep, our children also need the day sleep. Naps are crucial for the child to relax and reset for the day. Skipping naps and keeping a toddler up all day can have negative effects on their attention and behavior. Because our babies are growing a lot those first few years, they need a lot more sleep than adults do. Depending on their age, our children need anywhere between 12-15 hours of total sleep in a 24-hour period. (See chart below of recommended sleep per age by The National Sleep Foundation 2014). And it’s not only about the quantity of sleep, but the quality as well. With children, consistency is key. Babies thrive on scheduled sleep, which means between one and two naps during the day and a long period of uninterrupted, high quality sleep at night.
Here are a few suggestions to encourage healthy sleep habits for your child, so she can grow, learn, and stay healthy:
|Age||Night sleep||# Hours of day sleep||Recommended total hours of sleep*|
|4 months||11-12 hours||3-4 hours||12-15 hours/day|
|5 years||11-12||No nap||10-13|
Our highly skilled team of therapists provides an inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary team approach to working with families and their children with unique needs