Sleep is important because it promotes health, well-being, and performance. Especially children who are still growing should get enough sleep. But how much sleep does a child actually need?
How Much Sleep Does Your Child Need
Healthy sleep is essential for physical and mental regeneration. It has a great influence on our well-being and our performance. You notice this even with a slight sleep deficit, for example in a lack of concentration, memory problems, and declining responsiveness. Fatigue not only makes you sluggish but also nervous and irritable.
Noises, lights, or smells are quickly perceived as annoying. But also in the interpersonal area, there can be conflicts based on increased sensitivity.
Sleep is particularly important for children. On the one hand, because hormones are released that control growth and, on the other hand, because memory increases during sleep – what you have learned is written into the brain, so to speak. In addition, the cells renew themselves during sleep. The release of an appetite-suppressing hormone even regulates body weight (protection against obesity). In the case of insomnia, however, more hormones are released that stimulate the appetite.
Sleep promotes concentration
Sleep is also important for mental equilibrium because it processes the impressions of the day. In times of illness, extensive sleep promotes recovery, but the immune defense is also increased during sleep. However, sleep can only develop its full effect if it is long enough and not interrupted. You should also sleep regularly, i.e. at set times.
Because getting enough sleep is so important – especially for schoolchildren who need to learn to focus and perform (so that you may not have to seek services such as “do my maths for me” online) – parents should keep a close eye on their offspring’s sleep times. According to one study, children sleep an hour longer on average on weekends and holidays. This indicates a chronic lack of sleep during school days.
Since it will not be possible to start school later, late risers should go to bed early. Short sleepers, on the other hand, do not, because otherwise, they will only lie awake for unnecessarily long. It is important to recognize your child’s sleep type and needs and to adjust the bedtimes as well as possible.
Sleep need and quality of sleep
The need for sleep and the quality of sleep depend on many factors. First of all, there are individual differences, ie every person has typical sleep behavior. Physical and mental well-being plays a special role. For example, the sleep of a healthy person differs from that of a sick person, and when one is emotionally troubled, one sleeps differently than in balanced phases. Environmental influences such as light, noise, or temperature also influence sleep.
Age also has a major influence on our need for sleep. In the first few months of life, the baby sleeps about 16 to 18 hours a day, but only two to four hours in a row. In between, there is always a need for food. Because the baby’s stomach is so small, it will be hungry again after a short time.
At the end of the first year of life, the duration of sleep is reduced to around twelve to fourteen hours. Even then, the baby will wake up again and again. It should fall asleep on its own if possible. If you keep driving the car or stroller to make it easier for your baby to fall asleep, this may mean that he or she can only sleep while moving.
From the first year of life to pre-school age, the need for sleep is reduced again, to around ten to twelve hours. Primary school children also need around ten hours of sleep. During puberty, there is a shift in the internal clock due to hormonal changes. The later, but also increased release of the sleep hormone melatonin leads to the fact that the adolescent falls asleep later on the one hand, and on the other needs more sleep again.
Between the ages of 14 and 16, the sleep behavior of adolescents approaches that of adults – they then need around nine hours of sleep. At 20 years of age, the sleeping times correspond.