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How much sleep do kids need?

Q: I have noticed that a lot of parents seem to let their children stay up late so that they all go to bed at about the same time, maybe as late as 10 or 11 p.m. I understand that this may be because the parents don’t see their children all day because they are both working, but is this healthy for the children who have to go to school?

Also, I can often feel tired even if I have plenty of sleep. Why is this?

A: When I was young, it was bedtime at 8.30 p.m until I was about 12 and then 10 p.m. when I was a teenager on school days.

I think it is easier for everyone if the parents set a time and stick to it, then there is no fighting about bedtime. You won’t get into a situation where a child can manipulate you with pleas for an extra drink of water or five more minutes of TV.

The National Sleep Foundation in the U.S. has recently issued some recommendations for the number of hours children and adults require at different ages.

For newborn babies up to three months, they recommended daily sleep of 14 to 17 hours.

Slightly older infants of four to 11 months need 12 to 15 hours and toddlers of one to two years require 11 to 14 hours.

At pre-school age, the experts recommend 10 to 13 hours of sleep and for children aged six to 13, they said nine to 11 hours.

For teenagers, the ideal length of sleep time is between eight and 10 hours.

Adults between 18 and 64 should get seven to nine hours while seniors older than 65 might need a little less at seven to eight hours.

I was surprised by the suggestion regarding teenagers, as previous studies had stated that they should get several hours more sleep than adults, and that they often did not get enough.

If you feel tired despite plenty of sleep, you may wish to see a doctor to rule out medical conditions such as anemia or heart problems. Stress can make you feel tired because it takes a lot of energy to be anxious.

Try talking to a friend or a therapist about your problems or possible ways to make your life better. Gradually cutting down your alcohol or caffeine consumption may also help.

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