Dr. Kilkenny says that the amount of sleep a child needs depends on age. Including naps, toddlers need 11-14 hours. Children aged 3 to 5 should aim for 10-13 hours of sleep, including naps. Children ages 6 to 14 should get between 9 and 12 hours of sleep, and teenagers up to 17 years should sleep 8 to 10 hours every night.
If you notice your child is sleep-deprived, a visit to a doctor can rule out any possible medical issues. “Disorders such as sleep apnea, night terrors, nocturnal enuresis (bedwetting) can all interfere with the quality of a child’s sleep, leading to excessive sleepiness,” Dr. Kilkenny said. You should also look out for snoring, teeth grinding, sleepwalking, or talking during sleep, because they could be symptoms of an underlying condition.
Dr. Kilkenny suggests establishing a set of daily sleep hygiene rules, which can include avoiding late-day naps or staying away from caffeine and sugar in the evenings. He also suggests avoiding exercise or physical activities a few hours before bedtime. “The parents must enforce a routine prior to bedtime where the child does quiet activities such as watching TV, reading, or listening to music,” Dr. Kilkenny said. He adds that it’s ideal if this quiet time in the evening is in a dimly lit room. Finally, Dr. Kilkenny says the bedroom should be reserved for sleeping rather than eating, watching TV, or communicating with friends.