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Brain Awareness Week: How much sleep do kids really need?

sleep and learning

Children need more sleep than adults.

Researchers have found that sleep is critical for vital cognitive skills, particularly forming long-term memories. In addition, just a small amount of sleep deprivation can affect performance for days after.

How much sleep do kids need?

Children need a lot more sleep than adults and it is important that they have schedules and an environment that is conducive to adequate sleep. There is a great deal of scientific evidence regarding the importance of sleep to the developing brain yet most children don’t get enough.

Experts recommend:

  • 14 – 15 hours sleep per day for children aged 3-11 months
  • 12 – 14 hours of sleep a day for children aged 1-3 years
  • 11 – 13 hours per day for children aged 3-5
  • 10 – 11 hours for children aged 6 to 10
  • 8.5 – 9 hours or more for adolescents

Children who do not get adequate sleep are more likely to develop problems getting to sleep and staying asleep at night. But most importantly, when children do not get adequate sleep experts report that, unlike adults who act lethargic during the day, children exhibit hyperactivity.

What can affect children’s sleep patterns?

Experts suggest that sleep can be affected by:

  • Caffeine consumption during the day
  • Having a television in the bedroom
  • Sleep apnea (brief stoppage of airflow at night that causes a child to awake). Unlike adults suffering from sleep apnea who complain of fatigue and sleepiness, children may exhibit hyperactivity and aggressive behaviour.

Interested in learning more about the Fast ForWord program? Have a question about learning, neuroscience and/or education? Contact the team of health and education professionals at Sonic Learning.