Young children need a lot of sleep. In fact, sleep is the brain’s primary activity during early development. It’s during sleep that the brain sorts through and stores information, replaces chemicals, and solves problems.
Studies show just one hour less of sleep a night during early childhood has long-lasting effects on proper language and cognitive development. Lack of sleep can also lead to behavioral problems, like hyperactivity, trouble managing emotions and poor concentration skills.
Every child is different, but there are basic guidelines about how much sleep kids need. According to the National Sleep Foundation:
- Newborns sleep up to 20 hours a day.
- By six months, babies will sleep up to 16 hours a day and may sleep through the night – which may only be a stretch of five to six hours in a row.
- Toddlers need 12 to 14 hours of sleep a day between nighttime sleep and naps.
- Preschoolers need about 10 to 13 hours a day.
- Kids ages 5 and up still need about 10 hours a day.