Sleep is critical to everyone’s health and happiness. It’s worthwhile to take the time to make sure everyone in the house is getting enough sleep, especially if you notice changes in health, energy, or mood.
Sleep Recommendations by Age
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued guidelines for the amount of sleep people need depending on their age:
- Newborn (0-3 months): 14-17 hours per day
- Infant: (4-12 months): 12-16 hours (with naps)
- Toddler (1-2 years): 11-14 hours (with naps)
- Preschool (3-5 years): 10-13 hours (with naps)
- School Age (6-12 years): 9-12 hours
- Teen (13-18 years): 8-10 hours
- Adult (18-60 years): 7 + hours
- Adult (61-64 years): 7-9 hours
- Adult (65+ years): 7-8 hours
The CDC based these recommendations on information from the foremost sleep experts. They reflect the broad consensus on the amount of sleep people need at different ages.
Let Newborns Sleep
For the most part, newborns need as much sleep as they can get. It is unnecessary to work too hard to establish a sleep routine for newborns. Let them sleep and eat as they want. Trying to establish a routine is primarily for parents’ convenience. It is reasonable to try, as long as your child can still get the recommended amount of sleep.
Establish Sleep Routine for Infants
With infants, establishing a good sleep routine is an important step. Gradually transition from a newborn’s freeform day to a solid routine for an infant. One successful approach is using regular meal times to encourage a long night sleep of 8-12 hours, supplemented by about four hours of napping during the day.
Toddler Sleep Training
Getting toddlers to sleep enough can be challenging. The combination of having to learn to sleep by themselves, the excitement and wonder of an eager mind, and growing willfulness can make it hard to get toddlers to sleep. It’s beyond our scope to talk in detail about toddler sleep training. However, we want to note that it’s worth it to establish good sleep habits in toddlers. Going through the process of teaching bedtime routines can even be helpful for adults who might have forgotten how much it matters.
Phasing Out Naps with Preschool Children
If you’ve established good sleep routines with your toddlers, the big challenge for preschool children is phasing out their naps. You will know that your child is ready for this when they start having trouble sleeping at nap time or bedtime. They just won’t be tired at naptime. Your child might start to get irritable if they sleep too much because of naps.
Maintaining Routines with School-Age Children
For good sleep, school-age children should maintain a regular bedtime. Although many children like to stay up late on weekends, whether this is appropriate for your child depends on how well they deal with it. Everyone’s sleep schedule is different, and by this age, some children might not need as much sleep as their parents. If this is the case for your child, help them establish a morning routine that they can follow instead of waking you up.
Teens Need Sleep
Although teens might need less sleep than they did when younger, they are more likely to take advantage of growing independence and sacrifice their sleep. This can manifest as low energy, moodiness, and irritability, which can be hard to distinguish from typical teenage behaviors. To the extent that you can, recommend that your teen prioritize sleep and provide a model for good sleep habits.
Adults Are Often Short on Sleep
The truth is that adults often feel they aren’t getting enough sleep. There are too many things to do during the day to take the time necessary for sleep. However, adults need to move sleep up in their priorities. Old recommendations that adults need eight hours of sleep have been revised. Some might need as little as seven, while many need more than that.
Diminishing Sleep Needs with Age
Adults often find more trouble sleeping as they get older, especially once they reach retirement age. This is worsened by the way retirement can change their daily schedule. Without work to define their daily routine, they may do less during the day, which means they are less tired at night. Remaining active can help you maintain healthy sleeping patterns.
If You Feel You’re Not Getting Enough Rest
What should you do if you feel you’re not getting enough rest? First, try to improve your quality of sleep.
Establish a good sleep schedule: Make sure you’re setting aside enough time for sleep every night. You might need more than 8 hours of sleep a night, so it’s important to try getting more sleep if you feel you’re not getting enough. Also, try to maintain the same sleep schedule every day—even on weekends.
Make a bedtime routine: Take a tip from toddlers and take advantage of the power of routine to help your body prepare for sleep. Start relaxing at least a half-hour before bedtime with activities that help you get ready for sleep. There is controversy about whether screentime inherently makes it hard to sleep before bed, but if you find it makes you worked up or distracted, so you can’t sleep, try something else.
Avoid stimulants before bed: Don’t consume stimulating foods or beverages before bedtime. Cut out coffee and black tea in the afternoon. Don’t consume alcohol after dinner or overeat sugar or chocolate close to bedtime. Some medications can interfere with sleep. If your prescription medication is making it hard to sleep, see if you can take it at a different time or cut back.
Improve your sleep environment: Make sure your sleeping area encourages sleep. Replace uncomfortable pillows, mattresses, and bedding. Block light sources like clocks or streetlamps. Try to keep the air cooler at night. Condition your body to associate the bed only with sleep and sex by avoiding other activities in bed. Don’t read, watch TV, or browse your phone in bed. When you wake up at night and can’t fall back asleep, get up for a while, then go back to bed.
Help for Poor Sleep in the Detroit Area
If you think you’re getting enough sleep but you still feel tired and worn out during the day, you might be suffering from sleep apnea, especially if people in your home complain about your snoring. At the Michigan Center for TMJ and Sleep Wellness, sleep dentist Dr. Jeffrey S. Haddad can help you get tested for sleep apnea then help you get a treatment that will make it easier for you to get deep, restful sleep all night.
To schedule a consultation at our office in Rochester Hills, please call (248) 480-0085 or use our online form today.