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The Informed Parent

Sleep Patterns For Your Kids

by John H. Samson, M.D., F.A.A.P.
Published on Jul. 09, 2001

First-time parents inevitably bring multiple questions to the well checks of their infant. Without the greater family support or wise and experienced grandmother who in past times would answer these pressing questions, the physician often provides the answers.

One perplexed mother inquired of me how much time was too much time for her one-year-old to sleep. It seemed that the child took two daytime naps and would sleep through the night. Friends told her that the baby was sleeping too much. It was their experience that children her age took only one nap per day.

I mapped out a chart for this mother, assuring her that the numbers given represented typical requirements, and an individual child’s needs may vary on either side of the amount listed.

Age Range
1st month 15-16 hours
1 month to 1 year 13-15 hours
1 year to 2 years 13 hours
2 years to 5 years 11-13 hours
5 years to 9 years 10 hours
9 years to 12 years 9-10 hours
12 years and older 8-9 hours

Of added note, a typical one-year-old takes two naps per day, while a two-to-three-year-old takes one nap per day. Any infant may require a little more or a little less and still be normal. If there is a great variation one should discuss this with the child’s physician.

Parents of teen-agers will note that adolescents do not usually have consistent sleep hours, day-to-day. Some days or during certain times they seem to require considerably more sleep than the 8 – 9 hours listed. Athletic, social, work or academic demands dictate this variation. If the adolescent’s hours of sleep per day are tabulated for a full month, one will find it usually will average out to be 8 – 9 hours per day.

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