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Parents, how much sleep should your babies really be getting?

Posted June 22

Here is a new sleep guide to help parents avoid cranky babies. (Deseret Photo)

Cranky babies, temper tantrums and exhaustion are a few things parents want to avoid — and a new sleep guide published in the the American Academy of Sleep Medicine offers a few guidelines for the amount of sleep babies, toddlers, tweens and teenagers should be getting.

Babies, toddlers, tweens and teenagers should be getting the following amount of sleep on a regular basis:

  • Infants from four to 12 months — 12 to 16 hours of sleep daily (including naps).
  • Children one to two years —11 to 14 hours of sleep daily (including naps).
  • Children three to five years — 10 to 13 hours of sleep daily (including naps).
  • Children six to 12 years — 9 to 12 hours of sleep daily.
  • Teenagers 13 to 18 years — 8 to 10 hours of sleep daily.
Children who get enough sleep every night are more likely to have better behavior, attention span, learning ability, memory, emotional regulation and overall quality of life, Dr. Lee Brooks, an attending pulmonologist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, told CBS News.

Many parents have trouble getting their children to bed on time because "frequently, a child or teen will not go to bed early enough or they are awakened too early. The reasons for this are varied, but revolve around family dynamics, social issues and, in the case of teens, school start times," Dr. Stuart F. Chan, who contributed the guidelines, told NBC News.

Chan offered a few guidelines to promote better sleep in children of all ages:

  • Take away TV, cellphones, tablets before your children go to sleep. These devices have been proven to be distracting and emit a bright light that delays sleep.
  • Keep a consistent sleep schedule for your children on weekdays, weekends and vacation. Straying from a regular sleep schedule can make it more difficult to adjust back.
  • Schedule homework and after-school activities during times that don't interfere with your children's sleep schedule.
Charles Pohl, the director of the Network of Apnea and Pediatric Sleep Center at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, told Parenting.com most infants have "disorganized, or fragmented, sleep" and most babies won't sleep though the night until they are about 4 to 6 months old.

"I don't think it's ever too early to get an infant used to a regular schedule, so that she starts to know when sleep time is approaching," Deborah Givan, the director of the Children's Sleep Disorders Center at Riley Children's Hospital, told Parenting.com. "Another good idea is to minimize stimulation prior to bedtime. A warm bath, a book or a song can help a child wind down."

Email: mmcnulty@deseretnews.com

Twitter: megchristine5

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