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How Much Should Adults and Children Sleep?


Updated February 24, 2011

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

How Much Should Adults and Children Sleep?

How much you and your children should sleep depends on age and individual needs.

Question: How Much Should Adults and Children Sleep?

The amount of sleep we should get each night depends on your age and individual needs. Some people may naturally need less sleep than others, and be perfectly health, happy, and productive on fewer hours of sleep. And as we get older, we naturally need fewer hours of sleep at night.


That said, here is a general age-by-age guideline of how much sleep we should get each night, according to the National Sleep Foundation:

  • Newborns (0 to 2 months): 12 to 18 hours
  • Infants (3 to 11 months): 14 to 15 hours
  • Toddlers (1 to 3 years): 12 to 14 hours
  • Preschoolers (3 to 5 years): 11 to 13 hours
  • School-Age Children (5 to 10 years): 10 to 11 hours
  • Teens (10 to 17 years): 8.5 to 9.25 hours
  • Adults: 7 to 9 hours

Of course, knowing how much you and your child should sleep is one thing; actually getting the amount of sleep you need is another. In today’s 24-7 society, it can be tough for parents and kids to cram in school, homework, after-school activities and family time into one day.

But research shows that getting enough sleep is crucial for health, including cognitive and physical development, ability to focus and learn, behavior, and optimal immune system function.

That’s why it’s especially crucial that parents help their kids develop healthy sleep habits and keep an eye out for signs that their child is not getting enough sleep.

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