New Guidelines on How Much Sleep Your Child Needs

Some of you may have seen in the news that the National Sleep Foundation recently released new guidelines on the recommended amount of sleep for children and adults. Eighteen leading scientists and researchers participated in a rigorous scientific process that included reviewing over 300 current scientific publications to develop these new guidelines and they then voted on how much sleep is appropriate throughout our lifespan.

So, What’s New?

The guidelines now provide a recommended range, but also map out additional data on what “May be Appropriate”.  For example, newborns (0-3 months) sleep range recommendation narrowed to 14-17 hours each day (previously it was 12-18). It now includes a new range for what “May be Appropriate”, which includes 11 to 13 hours and 18 to 19 hours. It also outlines what is not recommended, which for a newborn is less than 11 hours or more than 19 hours.  As you can see, the range actually extended when adding the category of what may be appropriate.

When I work with families, I often provided these targeted times, but do know that every baby is different and functions on varying amounts of sleep. These guidelines are here to help us provide insight into what is developmentally appropriate, while also helping confirm that the recommended amount is a range. Your child can be anywhere on this spectrum and this guidance helps alleviate stress that may have before been placed on parents because their child wasn’t sleeping within the “average range”.

I encourage you to focus on respecting bedtimes and the amount of sleep that your child needs, even in these ever busy summer months. There’s no better feeling then to wake up to a well rested child who is excited to start the day!

Check out the National Sleep Foundations chart provided below to map out your child’s sleep recommendations based on their age. I was also sent this video from a family that I have worked with that was happy to see the science confirming how much sleep our little ones need!




About Elizabeth Sarles

Elizabeth Sarles is a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach and the owner of Nite & Day. She lives in Edina, Minnesota with her husband Lien, two little guys – Lien and Harrison, and her first baby (and bed-hog), Eddie the Yorkie.

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