The Importance of Sleep

I wanted to address a question that I see has come up many, many times on the forum (my team tells me it’s the most active forum topic, especially late at night) … sleep. A lot of you are not getting it because your children are not getting it. Why are families so sleep deprived (new baby arrivals aside)? It’s usually one of the following: your children want to sleep in your bed, they want you to stay with them, they don’t want to sleep in their bed, you’re making the transition from a crib to a toddler or toddler to “big kid” bed, they’re “not tired,” I could go on, but I think you get the picture. Let’s remind ourselves of why we need sleep and the proper length of sleep each age group should be getting (the results might surprise you):

For adults…

  • More rejuvenated
  • Focused
  • Ability to deal with stress
  • Memory
  • Patience
  • 7-8 hours a night is key

For kids…

  • Sleep help our body and brain develop and grow.
  • Our body needs to sleep and be rested so we are alert functional can remember what we learn
  • Focus and concentrate, be creative imaginative.
  • Solve problems
  • Play/Work
  • Repair

For newborns/babies…

  • Newborns typically sleep no less than 18 hours sleep per day. With irregular periods of time spent awake.
  • Babies for the first year need at least 12 hours sleep. Including 2 main naps a day and 1 catnap which is normally around 30 minutes


  • Toddlers need roughly 12 to 14 hours sleep per day. Their sleep decreases to one lengthy sleep per day.


  • Age 5 sleeps anywhere around 11-12 hours each night. But without an afternoon nap. This should start from the age roughly around 3. However on a fun packed weekend, don’t be surprised to find a little catnap thrown in to rejuvenate energy.


  • 10 hours of sleep per day


  • 8-10 hours of sleep per day, though during times of growth spurts, this might increase

What are the benefits of a full night’s sleep? I believe creating healthy sleeping patterns is the key to successful weight control, brain development, and a healthy mind and body. This is why establishing healthy sleeping patterns is so important. We give our children the best opportunities in everything they do on a daily basis. As their bodies are now able to digest and rest from the days events; ready to sponge up and absorb all that life has to offer them tomorrow. When our children are well rested they are able to engage more readily in all activities. Academically, they are able to achieve far greater results when they are well rested. Start good sleeping habits early. Currently, due to lack of putting sleep routines in children’s lives, 70% under children the age of 10 are having difficulty getting the quality and amount of sleep they need per night.

If your child is having trouble falling asleep alone, try my Controlled Timed Crying Technique (CTCT) on Jo’s Techniques page.

Perhaps the most neglected catagory in terms of sleep and needs is in teenagers. If they don’t get the proper amount of sleep during particularly stressful times, like exams, A-levels, SATs, etc, the stress can lead to colds and flus and even (in more severe cases and with prolonged lack-of-sleep) depression.

As parents and caretakers, it is our job to protect the amount of sleep your child gets. We can never get back the sleep we lose, but by setting bedtimes (for yourself as well as your children) and wake up times, you can start start feeling well-rested by tomorrow morning. Additionally, take a cue from the Mediterranean countries who have designated afternoon rest times throughout the entire country. You can do something similar by implementing family rest times on the weekends will allow both parents and children a set time (45 minutes is ideal) to relax their body and either fall into a nap or simple take some time to recharge the mind and body and feel refreshed. Remember, better sleep leads to a better quality of life.


Copywritten by Jo Frost

Subscribe To My Newsletter, Cuppa Jo!

Read previous post:
The Naughty Step Technique