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Healthy Sleep Habits

A child sleeping.

What is normal sleep?

The normal amount of sleep varies depending on the age of your child.

 

Age Group

Age

Recommended sleep time in 24 hrs. (Including naps)

Range of Normal

Newborn

0 – 3 months

14 – 17 hours

11-19 hours

Infant

4 – 12 months

12 – 16 hours

10 – 18 hours

Toddler

1 – 2 years

11 – 14 hours

9 – 16 hours

Pre-School age

3 – 5 years

10 – 13 hours

8 – 14 hours

School age

6 – 12 years

9 – 11 hours

7 – 12 hours

Teen

13 – 17 years

8 – 10 hours

7 – 11 hours

Young Adult

18 – 25 years

7 – 9 hours

6 – 11 hours

 

   
     
     
     
     
   

 

Helpful tips for healthy sleep habits

The following are some helpful tips for establishing good sleep habits for your child:

  •          Newborns don't have a set night or day schedule for the first several weeks of life. It is best for a newborn not to sleep longer than 5 hours at a time in the first 5 to 6 weeks, as their small bodies need frequent feedings. Do follow the advice of your pediatrician with regard to feeding schedules for your newborn.

  •          Older babies and children benefit from a consistent naptime and bedtime schedule.

  •          Start a quiet time, such as listening to quiet music, reading a book or any other soothing positive activity the child can partake in, either by themselves or with the family, 20 to 30 minutes before bedtime. TV, smart phones, iPads, computers and all other electronic screens should not be part of the quiet time. Ideally, all electronics should be off approximately 2 hours before bedtime.

  •          After the quiet time, try to follow a set bedtime routine. This will help your child expect sleep time soon. Set a time limit for quiet time and the routine so it does not drag on and your child knows what to expect before bedtime.

  •          Ideally, encourage your child to develop autonomy and fall asleep independently without your intervention or presence in the room.

  •          Security objects, such as a special blanket or stuffed animal, can help your child transition to sleeping independently of your presence.

  •          It is important for children to be put to bed sleep but awake so they learn to fall asleep themselves.

  •         Babies should not be put to bed with a bottle. It can lead to problems such as tooth decay and ear infections.

Reducing the risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related deaths

Here are recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on how to reduce the risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and sleep-related deaths from birth to age 1:

  • Make sure your baby is immunized. An infant who is fully immunized reduces his or her risk for SIDS. 

  • Breastfeed your infant. The AAP recommends breast milk only for at least the first 6 months. 

  • Place your infant on his or her back for all sleeping until he or she is 1-year-old. This can decrease the risk for SIDS, aspiration, and choking. Never place your baby on his or her side or stomach for sleep or naps. If your baby is awake, allow your child time on his or her tummy as long as you are supervising, to decrease the chances that your child will develop a flat head.

  • Always talk with your baby's doctor before raising the head of the crib if he or she has been diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux.

  • Offer your baby a pacifier for sleeping or naps, if he or she isn't breastfed. If breastfeeding, delay introducing a pacifier until breastfeeding has been firmly established.

  • Use a firm mattress (covered by a tightly fitted sheet) to prevent gaps between the mattress and the sides of a crib, a play yard, or a bassinet. This can decrease the risk for entrapment, suffocation, and SIDS.

  • Share your room instead of your bed with your baby. Putting your baby in bed with you raises the risk for strangulation, suffocation, entrapment, and SIDS. Bed sharing is not recommended for twins or other higher multiples. The AAP recommends that infants sleep in the same room as their parents, close to their parent's bed, but in a separate bed or crib appropriate for infants. This sleeping arrangement is recommended ideally for the baby's first year, but should at least  be maintained for the first 6 months.

  • Don't use infant seats, car seats, strollers, infant carriers, and infant swings for routine sleep and daily naps. These may lead to obstruction of an infant's airway or suffocation.

  • Don't place infants on a couch or armchair for sleep. Sleeping on a couch or armchair puts the infant at much higher risk of death, including SIDS.

  • Don't use illicit drugs and alcohol. Don't smoke during pregnancy or after birth. Keep your baby away from others who are smoking and areas where others smoke.

    Don't over bundle, overdress, or cover an infant's face or head. This will prevent him or her from getting overheated, reducing the risks for SIDS.Don't use loose bedding or soft objects. Bumper pads, pillows, comforters, and blankets should not be used in an infant's crib or bassinet to help prevent suffocation, strangulation, entrapment, or SIDS.Cardiorespiratory monitors, commercial devices, wedges, positioners and special mattresses have note b decrease the risk for SIDS and sleep-related infant deaths.

  • Don't over bundle, overdress, or cover an infant's face or head. This will prevent him or her from getting overheated, reducing the risks for SIDS.

  • Don't use loose bedding or soft objects. Bumper pads, pillows, comforters, and blankets should not be used in an infant's crib or bassinet to help prevent suffocation, strangulation, entrapment, or SIDS.

  • Cardiorespiratory monitors, commercial devices, wedges, positioners and special mattresses have not been shown to decrease the risk for SIDS and sleep-related infant deaths.

  • Always place cribs, bassinets, and play yards in hazard-free areas. Avoid dangling cords, wires, or window coverings to reduce the risk for strangulation. 

  • Avoid all exposure to smoke, alcohol, and illicit drugs.

     

    Driscoll Medical Reviewer: Daher, Amine, MD; Reviewed on 10/05/2020

© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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