Sleep development stages

Knowing sleep requirements throughout the lifespan is foundation to a healthy living lifestyle.

Sleep is part of the healthy lifestyle equation. Most have witnessed an infant and toddler trying to avoid naptime or bedtime in various subtle and not so subtle ways when they are tired. Older children, teens and even adults behavior is affected by inadequate sleep. Knowing how much sleep is required throughout the growing years is important in developing a healthy lifestyle.

Infants do not have developed patterns and require the most hours of sleep. It takes infants on average up to six weeks to develop a sleep pattern. Within these first six weeks, infants sleep for one to two hours at a time for a total of 14 to 16 hours per day.

According to Michigan State University Extension, as a child grows and develops their required sleep patterns change:

  • Four to 12 months need 14 to 15 hours
  • Ages 1 to 3 need 12 to 14 hours
  • Ages 3 to 6 need 10 to 12 hours
  • Ages 7 to 12 need 10 to 11 hours
  • Ages 12 to 18 need eight to nine hours
  • 18-years and older need six to eight hours

Healthy living involves much more than just paying attention to nutrition and exercise. Establishing healthy sleep patterns helps in developing healthy lifestyles. Helping infants and toddlers establish a bedtime routine will help them to calm down and get ready to sleep. An example of a bed time routine is having a bath and story-time before going to bed each night. Make their bed inviting, comfortable and mute from light to help set the tone.

When we receive enough sleep on a consistent manner the benefits are numerous. Sleep research has proven that adequate sleep improves memory, stamina, academic grades and helps to reduce inflammation and stress. Getting the proper rest you need is the foundation to improving overall health. Slow down and let yourself sleep and recharge.

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