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Better Sleep for the Whole Family

There’s no magic number when it comes to how many hours of sleep we need — we’re all individuals, after all. But there are guidelines from the National Sleep Foundation for the amount of sleep you and your kids need, and they’re worth following. “Many of us sleep too little — we’re so busy being busy that we forget to let our brains rest and reinvigorate,” says Cleveland Clinic pediatrician Deb Lonzer, MD. “Get the right amount of sleep and be a good role model for your kids.”

Newborns: Infants sleep 14 to 17 hours a day, without any sense of day and night. In the first few weeks, they need to be fed every 3 to 4 hours. After that, they can sleep 4 to 5 hours before getting hungry.

3-to-6-Month-Olds: Babies sleep 12 to 15 hours a day, with 2 to 3 daytime naps and an 8-hour chunk of sleep at night. That 8-hour stretch usually includes at least one interruption for feeding.

6-to-12-Month-Olds: Babies at this age have the same sleep needs as 3-to-6-month-olds, except that older babies are more likely to sleep through the night without a feeding.

Toddlers: Children between the ages of 1 and 2 sleep 11 to 14 hours a day, which typically includes a lengthy nap (or two shorter naps). It’s important to stick to a regular bedtime at this age, as overtired toddlers can have a difficult time getting to sleep.

Preschoolers: The amount of sleep kids need starts to decrease now, with 3-to-5-year-olds needing 10 to 13 hours per night, with or without a daytime nap.

School-Age Kids and Preteens: Despite the big range in ages, everyone needs 9 to 11 hours of sleep a night.

Teens: Teens need 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night. Many teens aren’t getting the sleep they need because of homework, activities, and early high school start times. “They are physiological night owls, so their bodies tell them to stay up late and sleep in,” says Dr. Lonzer. Try to get your teen to stick to a regular bedtime during the week and on weekends.

Adults: Most adults between the ages of 18 and 64 need 7 to 9 hours of sleep. That number drops to 7 to 8 hours for anyone 65 or older.

Dr. Lonzer offers these tips for a well-rested family:

  • Set an appropriate bedtime, for your kids and yourself.
  • Develop pre-sleep rituals as a family.
  • Establish a sleep-wake cycle using lighting and stimulating activities in the morning and avoiding them at night.
  • Keep electronics out of the bedroom. (That goes for adults, too!)

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