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How Much Sleep Should Children Get?

How Much Sleep do Children Need?

A-life coaches have the privilege of seeing thousands of children each week as we go from school to school teaching about the importance of healthy living and making healthy choices. One thing we often notice is that sleep seems to be the most overlooked pillar of children’s health. We see young children that are exhausted because they are staying up until 11pm or later. Many children tell us they have a TV or games console in their room and they are allowed to turn it off when they like. We point out that if they miss just one hour of sleep a night, every night of the year, 365 hours is a lot of missed sleep! As a health professional and parent I feel compelled to highlight some of the points below:

What are the benefits of sleep?

Sleep helps us to grow. When we sleep, a growth hormone is secreted. This causes children to grow and helps adults to regulate muscle mass and control fat.

Sleeps helps us to eat healthily. Ever noticed that when you’re tired you eat more sugary or high fat foods and feel hungrier in general? This is because a hormone called leptin is released when we sleep, which decreases appetite. People that don’t get enough sleep have less leptin and therefore less natural appetite control.

Sleep boosts the immune system. Certain disease-fighting substances are created and released when we sleep, meaning that people that do not have enough sleep are more likely to get ill.

Sleep reduces stress. Stress is associated with a whole host of diseases. A good night’s sleep, exercise and fresh air are simple ways to combat stress.

Sleep helps you stay looking young. While you sleep, blood flow to your skin is boosted, meaning you keep a healthy glow. What’s more, there have been studies showing that people who get enough sleep are more likely to live longer too!

What problems are associated with lack of sleep?

Health risks. Documented health risks of regularly not getting enough sleep include: Type 2 diabetes, depression, obesity, arthritis, high blood pressure and many more.

Higher risk of accidents. Slower reaction times, shorter attention span and reduced coordination are all a result of lack of sleep and can easily result in accidents.

Less productivity at work and school. Our brains work more slowly and concentration is reduced when we do not get enough sleep.

Reduced sex drive (adults)

So how much sleep do we need?


Age 3        13 hours sleep
Age 4        12 hours 30 minutes sleep
Age 5        12 hours sleep
Age 6        11 hours sleep
Age 7        10 hours 30 minutes sleep
Age 8        10 hours 15 minutes sleep
Age 9        10 hours sleep
Age 10        9 hours 45 minutes sleep
Age 11        9 hours 30 minutes sleep
Age 12        9 hours 15 minutes sleep
Age 13        9 hours sleep
Age 14        8 hours 45 minutes sleep
Age 15        8 hours 30 minutes sleep
Adult        7 – 9 hours sleep

Remember, if you help your children to create good sleep habits and patterns when they are young, they are likely to continue as adults.



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