Thursday, May 8, 2008

How many hours of sleep do kids need?

Each Thursday we are answering questions from readers like you about getting your kids to sleep through the night.

Here's this week's question:
"I have older kids (not babies) but I still have questions. How much sleep does an early teen (ages 13-14) need? (I think they still need 9-10 hours but bedtime is getting harder to control as they get older). My son is a mouth breather, does that effect sleep?" ~Jennifer

Dr. Zallek says you are right about the number of hours a 13-14 year-old needs to sleep. She also mentioned parents have a tough time setting limits with kids this age. She thinks you are one step ahead because you realize your child may not be getting enough sleep. Dr. Zallek said, "Most parents don't recognize those are the sleep needs of their children. They expect their kids to sleep less and feel fully refreshed. " The main thing to keep in mind is to be adamant about making them go to bed on time. (Now you have back-up because a specialist is telling you to do this!)

Here's the breakdown on how many hours of sleep kids need:

Babies: 16-18 hours
Pre-school age children: 11-13 hours
School-aged children: 10-11 hours
10 year-olds: 10 hours
14 year-olds: About 9 hours, but some need a little more and some a little less

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) offers some tips to help your child sleep better:
  • Follow a consistent bedtime routine. Set aside 10 to 30 minutes to get your child ready to go to sleep each night.
  • Establish a relaxing setting at bedtime.
  • Interact with your child at bedtime. Don’t let the TV, computer or video games take your place.
  • Keep your children from TV programs, movies, and video games that are not right for their age.
  • Do not let your child fall asleep while being held, rocked, fed a bottle, or while nursing.
  • At bedtime, do not allow your child to have foods or drinks that contain caffeine. This includes chocolate and sodas.
  • Try not to give him or her any medicine that has a stimulant at bedtime. This includes cough medicines and decongestants.

Jennifer also mentioned her son is a mouth breather. Dr. Zallek said, "Mouth breathing can be a sign of a tendency of sleep apnea because of upper airway narrowing."

I will post all the information you need to know about childhood sleep apnea next Thursday.

Here are the links to the other sleep topics we have already covered:

-NewsAnchorMom Jen


Maria said...

LOL! My son is bi-polar when it comes to sleep. For others, he is fine. For me, it is nurse to sleep or don't go to sleep. For a while he gave that up, but lately he has been needing it again, but then he sleeps well, so no skin off my hide. He'll outgrow it eventually. :) said...

We tried the Sleep Fairy book tonight for my 4 1/2 year old. He seems pretty excited. I really, really hope it works. We go back to the doctor tomorrow to see how his "lack of tonsils" has healed. Too bad it hasn't helped him sleep!

Jennifer said...

Hey, thanks for posting about my sleep question. Some sleep issues get easier as the kids get older (my son no longer has night terrors, for example and neither kid wakes up in the night) but the "getting them to bed on time" part is a lot harder. Partially due to homework and extra-curricular activities, but a lot of it is their belief that they can "get by" with less sleep.

Jill said...

Hi Jen! We are into our 3rd week of having sleep trouble with our 16month old dtr. She was a wonderful sleeper 3 wks ago. For bed we would have a bath, read 2 books, sing a song, and put her into her crib sleepy. She would cry 30 secs and then be asleep often until 7AM the next day. Now she will do her bedtime routine willingly but when put into her crib she cries. She has a pacifier at bedtime and blanket which she throws both out of the crib knowing we will come in to give these back to her. We have tried the going back into the room every 5 min, letting her cry (for an entire hour at times of course after checking on her, not picking her up and telling her night night), and now are staying in her room until she falls asleep. She then will wake at all different hours of the night and we go through all of this again. So we all are suffering of being very tired during the day. Thankfully her mood during the day is very happy like before but at night it is a different story. Any tips or references??? Thanks a lot, Jen!

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