21 Tips for Supporting Sleep at Every Age

This is a guest post.

Sleep is essential to function well in daily life. Without enough sleep, we all struggle to do our best. It's why toddlers get cranky if they miss a nap, or teens can't focus at school when they stay up late texting.

Sleep deprivation affects concentration, mood, learning, memory, and even physical development. It's especially pronounced at school, where students struggle to retain information and may experience difficulties with focus and behavior.

Sleep for Babies and Toddlers

Although sleep may feel elusive for parents at the infant and toddler stage, babies actually sleep quite a lot -- even if it's not all in long stretches at night like adults prefer.

In the newborn stage, babies sleep a total of 16 to 18 hours each day, eight to nine of those hours at night and seven to nine hours during the day with naps. By the time they are one year old, a baby's sleep needs to drop to 13 to 14 hours daily, 11 to 12 of those hours at night and two to three hours of daily nap time. The number of sleep hours each baby needs varies, and even experts are not totally in agreement about the exact number of hours young children need.

Support healthy sleep for babies and toddlers with these tips:
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule
- Create a consistent bedtime routine
- Reinforce daytime and nighttime cues, such as light and noise during the day and dark quietness at night
- Don't allow late naps
- Play during the day
- Make nighttime feedings and changings extremely calm

Sleep for School-Age Kids

School-age children are generally past the sleep struggles of babies and toddlers, but they have their own difficulties. Activities, school, and later bedtimes can lead to sleep challenges.

By five years old, children typically need about 10 to 11 hours of sleep each night. Children at this age usually don't need naps anymore.

Help school-age children sleep better with these tips: 
- Help kids stay active during the day
- Limit or eliminate activities that cut into sleep time
- Comfort kids when they have nightmares and minimize stress with a soothing bedtime routine
- Reassure nighttime anxieties such as monsters, fires, burglars, or stress from school or friends
- Avoid screen time late in the day and especially just before bed
- Avoid caffeine, scary movies, and TV at night
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule and bedtime routine
- Get treatment for sleep issues including sleepwalking, snoring, and sleep apnea
- Creative a healthy sleep environment with a mattress and supportive box spring or foundation

Sleep for Teenagers

Teenagers are at an especially sensitive time for sleep. As young adults move into puberty, their circadian rhythm shifts to a later bedtime, which can make it difficult if not impossible to get enough sleep at night and still wake up on time for school. Activities, homework, and social engagements can cut into sleep time as well, and teens may try (but fail) to make up for lost time by sleeping late on the weekends -- which only further complicates their circadian rhythm issues.

Most teens need at least eight hours of sleep to get enough rest each night. Napping is not typically a normal part of the teenage sleep routine, but teenagers who don't have enough time to sleep at night can supplement with naps during the day.

Encourage healthy sleep for teens with these tips: 
- Create a regular sleep schedule and bedtime routine
- Limit weekday evening activities
- Make evenings calm at home
- Complete homework early in the evening
- Stop screen time at least an hour before bed
- Limit or avoid caffeine consumption, and don't drink coffee before bed
- Encourage short naps during the day, no longer than 30 minutes and no later than the afternoon
- Reduce stress and anxiety

Children of any age can benefit from improved sleep habits.


  1. I like the new header, Diana!

  2. I’ve have trouble sleeping every now and then. Sometimes I sleep too much and other times I don’t sleep that much at all. Small children do get cranky without a nap and boy, do they let you know it. Sleep is so important for growing, energy, sanity, & more! Great article!

  3. Nice tips, I agree especially about electronics and blue lights, there are apps that help filter


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