The ‘sweet spot’ for sleep exists, but research shows it’s not a one-time fits all.
Below we dive into how much sleep you actually need at every age, including the amount of sleep a child needs, the best bed and wake-up times, common sleep issues, and how to create sleep routines you and your family can stick to.

How Much Sleep You Need

We each have individual needs, but how many hours of sleep do you need? The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and Sleep Research Society (SRS) developed a consensus recommendation for the amount of sleep needed for optimal health using a modified RAND Appropriateness Method process. Adults (ages 18-60) should aim for seven or more hours per night with children requiring more to feel adequately rested. A variety of factors like genes, environment, and health conditions can also affect this figure. 

Recommendations by Age

Kids who get enough sleep every night show improved behavior, attention span, learning, memory, emotional regulation, and overall quality of life. The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following sleeping hours by age group per day:
  • Newborns (0 to 3 months): 14 to 17 hours including naps.
  • Infants (4 to 11 months): 12 to 15 hours including naps.
  • Toddlers (12 to 35 months): 11 to 14 hours including naps.
  • Preschoolers (3 to 5 years): 10 to 13 hours.
  • School-age children (6 to 13 years): 11 hours.
  • Teenagers (14 to 17 years):  8 to 10 hours.
  • Younger adults (18 to 25 years old): 7 to 9 hours.
  • Adults (26 to 64):  7 to 9 hours.
  • Older adults (age 65 and over):  7 to 9 hours.
Achieving sleep goals specifically with children can be challenging, but studies show that kids who do establish good sleep habits early greatly benefit emotionally and behaviorally later in life.  

Setting a Bedtime

When you train your body to wind down and wake up at the same time every day you can start to reap the benefits of better sleep. The best way to do this is by determining a bedtime. Based on the targeted hours of sleep for your age, work backward from your wake-up time. Here are some general target bedtimes:
If the desired wake-up is between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m.:
  • Infants may be put to bed when sleepy or between 7:00 and 8:00 p.m.
  • Toddlers between 7:00 and 9:00 p.m.
  • Preschool children between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m.
If the desired wake-up is between 5:00 and 7:00 a.m.:
  • School-age children between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m.
  • Teens between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m.
  • Adults between 10:00 and 11:00 p.m.
We suggest opting for a sleep clock instead of a phone and leaving distracting devices outside the bedroom.  

Difficulties Meeting Bedtime

Sticking to bedtime isn’t always easy. Life can be unpredictable and throw us out of our routines. If you or your child has trouble sticking to a time or falling and staying asleep, you’re not alone. Insomnia and other bedtime struggles are very common so identifying and treating them early can make a big difference.

Insomnia in Children

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, there are a few different types of behavioral insomnia in children

One is limit-setting: Bedtime stalling or refusal to go to bed. 
Another is mixed type: A combination of sleep-onset and bedtime resistance.
There are a few different solutions depending on what type of insomnia your child is experiencing.    

Limit-setting Insomnia in Children

Limit-setting insomnia occurs when a child doesn’t have a set bedtime or are able to set their own demands. Here are some strategies for resetting bedtime.
  • Keep bedtime consistent 
  • Avoid negotiations or demands before bedtime
  • Wind-down with a screen-free activity 30 minutes before bed

  • It may be challenging in the short term, but setting a consistent bedtime for your children will help you both in the long run. 

    Insomnia in Adults

    According to the Sleep Foundation, insomnia affects 35% of adults. It is identified as problems getting to sleep, staying asleep through the night, and sleeping as long as you would like into the morning. It is often due to genetics but also related to other disorders like sleep apnea, anxiety, and depression. Thankfully, there are many treatments for adults experiencing insomnia, and they range from medications to cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTI).

    Tips and Tricks

    Taking the time to set yourself and your kids up for a night of rest is more than possible with a little preparation. These are our favorite bedtime essentials and tips for tucking in. 

    A Good Sleep Environment

    Reserve your bedroom for relaxation. Take note of the temperature, lighting, overall aura you feel when you walk into your bedroom. We suggest turning down the thermostat or keeping it cool with an open window. We suggest keeping it simple and minimize potential stressors. Research shows that the gradual disappearance of light like a sleep lamp can signal to your brain that it’s time to rest. 

    A Nighttime Routine

    A wind-down routine can prepare your body and mind for sleep. We suggest screen-free reading, soothing stretches, a calming bath, or herbal tea. Avoiding stimulating activities like exercise, video games, or, of course, doomscrolling, is the best way to transition your body and mind into sleep mode.   

    Good Sleep Hygiene

    Good sleep hygiene actually begins long before bed. If you’re struggling to wind down at the end of the day, take stock of what you might be doing throughout the day like caffeine and alcohol intake, napping, or not getting enough natural sunlight. These all have the potential to disrupt our sleep patterns. Developing good sleep hygiene like early evening rituals or making simple swaps like ditching devices and opting for a sleep clock can set you up for your best night of rest.

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