How Much Sleep Do You & Your Children Need? {Guidelines & Why It Matters}

Sleep is a lot more important than we give it credit for, wearing our late nights as a badge of honor. But really that isn't what's best for us. So find out below how much sleep you and your children really need to not only function properly, but to thrive.

Guidelines for how  much sleep both adults and kids need, and why the amount of sleep you and your family are getting is worth considering {on Household Management 101}
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This month's habit, as part of my New Year's Resolutions series is getting enough sleep each night, which I have defined as 8 hours a day, for adults.

It may seem strange to you that on a site about household management, and taking care of your home, I want us all to focus on developing good sleep habits, but it really shouldn't once you think about it.

The Effects Of Lack Of Sleep Are Only Negative, Not Positive

Guidelines for how  much sleep both adults and kids need, and why the amount of sleep you and your family are getting is worth considering {on Household Management 101}
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Everyone knows how they feel when they don't get enough sleep one night. You drag the next day, not seeming to be able to get quite as much done, and everything seems to take more effort.

As parents, especially with young children, we experience these effects even more chronically, because babies don't care what time of night they decide to pee through their diaper or demand to be fed.

While I look back fondly on my newborn days with each of my children, and I muddled through my days, I remember everything through a hazy blur. I also wonder how much sleep I really lost, because I can't quite remember everything.

In fact, my Mom has a name for it -- "the blur period." There is a reason why many Moms feel like that time in their life is a blur. It is because you don't have enough sleep to allow your brain to function properly, so it just doesn't commit things to long-term memory. You are in survival mode.

Additional negative effects of lack of sleep include not having energy for exercise, fun, or even essentials. Another is dependence on food and stimulants, such as caffeine, to try to get through the day. Finally, research is now showing that lack of sleep is as dangerous while driving as being drunk. Not good nor safe for anyone on the road.

When we choose not to get enough sleep each night (and yes, it is a choice when there are no newborns and no emergencies) we are choosing to continue living in our own self-imposed blur period, without energy, dependent on food and stimulants to survive, and even are a danger to everyone around us, including ourselves and our children.

Benefits Of Sleep For You As A Household Manager, Parent And Person

Just as there are only negatives to lack of sleep, when you get enough rest only positives are gained.

I know at first you may think, "I don't have enough time to get that much sleep Taylor!" However, when you really think about it, you don't have enough time NOT to get enough sleep.

When you get adequate amounts of rest you can get more done, have more energy, are in a better mood, don't need to eat as much food or caffeine, and can have more time to have some fun once the work is done.

In other words when you have good sleep habits, and get an adequate amount of rest you are a better household manager, parent and person in general. It really is the foundational block to all the other habits I want us to work on this year for our News Year's resolutions.

So, How Much Sleep Are We Talking About Here?

There are various studies on how much sleep a person really needs to function, and they have come up with varying amounts of hours per night, some of which concluded you need much less than the 8 hours each night I am recommending for adults.

I'm sure that has something to do with how each person is unique, and also what is meant by "proper functioning."

However, I don't just want to function, as in the opposite of malfunction, but instead I want to thrive and live a vital life, don't you? If so, then you may be interested in some information I recently read.

I've been reading The 1% Solution for Work and Life: How to Make Your Next 30 Days the Best Ever, by Tom Connellan, and he pointed out some interesting research in the book.

Basically, in a study of violinists which determined which players from the group would become virtuosos and those that would merely teach others how to play the instrument, along with incredible amounts of practice another key factor that made a difference was how much sleep these individuals got on a routine basis.

Those that excelled the most, and became the best on average got 8.6 hours of sleep each night, and also spent around 3 hours a week (approximately 25 minutes a day) napping. Those that were in the bottom only averaged 7.8 hours of sleep per night, and napped for less than an hour a week.

I'm just asking you to commit to 8 hours of sleep a night, because I know most of us aren't going to be concert violinists. However, we owe it to ourselves, and our kids, to function not only adequately, but also thrive, and sleep is vitally important to doing that.

How Much Sleep Do Children Need?

Throughout this article I have mainly been focused on how much sleep we, as adults, need each day. However, as parents and caregivers we owe it to our children to make sure they also get the amount of sleep they need to develop and thrive.

When looking at the research it is clear that kids need even more sleep than adults do. That should come as no suprise to any parent, who knows their kids conk out easily, especially when they are little.

Guidelines for how much sleep children need at various ages, from birth through teenagers. Are your kids getting enough sleep? {courtesy of Household Management 101}
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The amount of sleep needed is based on the individual child, but also on the age of the child. Here are some guidelines I have compiled based on these two resources: and Web MD. You can click on the links to read the full articles for yourself.

  • Age 1-4 weeks: 15-16 hours, all in short 3-4 hour intervals
  • Ages 1-12 months: 14-15 hours, with some of this sleeping time being in 2-3 naps during the day
  • Ages 1-3 years: 12-14 hours, with some of this sleeping time being in 1 or so naps during the day (the younger part of the age range may still have 2 naps)
  • Ages 4-6 years: 10-12 hours, and at sometime during this period will phase out naps, meaning that to get enough sleep you may need to put them to bed at an earlier bedtime once the nap is phased out so they can still get enough sleep
  • Ages 7-12 years: 10-12 hours
  • Ages 12-18 years: 8.5-9.5 hours (or perhaps more -- it is hard for teens to get enough sleep with so many activities and responsibilities, but they really need it with all the physical changes occurring with their bodies)

So, now that you know how much sleep you and your children really need each night, will you commit to this month's habit and try to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night yourself, and also help your children get enough sleep too?

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