Posted on October 28, 2021 | Hot Topics
What does sleep have to do with oral health? At this point, we know sleep has a lot to do with our overall health. It’s an essential rhythm that needs to be in place for all of our other areas of life to be truly healthy.
It’s important to get an adequate amount of sleep – regardless of age. For parents, it can be tough to know how much sleep your child should get every night. Here’s a breakdown of the amount of sleep your child needs for each stage of their development.
If you’re currently in this phase of life, you only dream of sleeping 10 hours a day! Sleep is hard to come by with a newborn baby. That’s because newborns need a total of 10 – 18 hours of sleep per day on an irregular schedule. Newborns will fuss, cry or rub their eyes when they need to sleep, so parents: pay attention to their gestures to understand when to put them to bed. Of course, they’ll probably fight it, but that’s a sure sign that they need the sleep.
By the infant stage, babies are usually capable of sleeping through the night for 9 – 12 hours. In addition, most infants will take 2 – 4 naps per day, which can last between 30 minutes to 2 hours. Parents should put their infants to bed when they become sleepy, rather than waiting for them to fall asleep. This helps kids to become self-soothers, and teaches them to fall asleep on their own. We know, much easier said than done.
Around 18 months, your toddler will begin needing less frequent naps, and may only take one nap, for 30 minutes to 2 hours (RIP that little amount of free time in your day). Many toddlers resist going to bed at bedtime, and they may wake up during the night. This is incredibly common, and parents can help their toddlers sleep through the night by setting a consistent bedtime schedule.
Preschoolers typically sleep between 11 – 13 hours per night, and only require one nap per day. As with toddlers, preschoolers can experience difficulty sleeping through the night, and some resist bedtime. Parents can help children get past this with a security item like a blanket or teddy bear, which can comfort children through the night.
As a child’s schedule increases with school and social activities, their need for a good night’s rest increases too. Typically, children don’t need naps, but do need to get a solid 8 – 12 hours of sleep per night. Try limiting TV and digital entertainment before bed, which can make it more difficult for a child to fall asleep.
Some people are pretty surprised by this suggested time range. It might be even more surprising to know that your teen may actually need one 20 – 40 minute nap per day. In fact, your child may finally begin to value their sleep and need no instruction to go to bed! Try to emphasize the importance of adequate sleep with your child, and establish a bedtime routine that takes TV’s, computers, and even phones out of their bedroom, and avoid caffeinated beverages at dinner so that they don’t have extra energy before bed.
If your child has difficulty sleeping through the night, or snores in their sleep, then they may have sleep apnea. Poor and inadequate sleep can lead to developmental problems, mood swings, and impact your child’s ability to learn. Make sure to inform your pediatrician about difficulty sleeping and if your child regularly snores during sleep.
We love Blossom Pediatric Dentistry! I have twin 11 year old boys, who have had previous major anxiety about the dentist. Not with Dr. Barber. She has an amazing bedside manner...
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We had an amazing experience at our first visit at Blossom Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics. Dr. Barber and her entire staff are friendly, knowledgeable, and excellent with children.
- Mother of Patient
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