Well it’s official, the National Sleep Foundation has new improved recommendations for the ideal hours of sleep we all need. I hope every parent is sitting down for this, 7-9 hours is the recommended hours of sleep recommended for an adult, with 6-10 hours being the range of ‘may be appropriate’. To make life even less pressured – how about 14-17 hours for a newborn up to 3 months and 12-15 hours being the recommended hours of sleep from 3 to 11 months. Also 11-14 hours of sleep is recommended for toddlers of 1-2 years, however with the ‘may be appropriate range’ for this age group it is extended to 9-6 hours. That indeed is a good range.
As I read this recent recommendation I wonder just how helpful this knowledge really is. Numbers are numbers, but the bottom line is that if a baby or child is healthy and happy, they are probably getting enough sleep and the need to count hours is removed.
Some parents feel their child is getting enough sleep but it is nowhere near the recommended hours per day. Here is a good way to tell; a baby or child, and for that matter, an adult has had enough sleep when; they are not grizzly and grumpy, rather they are emotionally robust and not over sensitive and not living in that haze of over tiredness.
If you baby or toddler is sleeping little and quickly fluctuating between happy and sad, or needs LOTS of entertaining when they are awake, they are possibly in need of a little more snooze hours.
Better to have more than not enough, as overtired babies are classically harder to care for and have more difficultly drifting to sleep. Ask any parent who has been able to increase their little one’s hours of sleep, they tell you the sparkle in their eyes is back, their joy is longer lived and they have less difficulty settling back for the next sleep.
The actual hours are interesting, but more importantly, if you think YOUR baby is not as content as you think they could be, just chat to someone about their sleeping. Your nurse is a great starting point to get some support to help you, to help your baby to settle to sleep with greater ease as they adapt to their new life. Perhaps all your baby or toddler needs is to develop the ability, with your support, to be able to link sleep cycles together so at least they can sleep for longer periods.
As usual; if you are struggling, just ask your nurse for advice or for guidance to a credible source for assistance.
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Sadly, each year, SIDS and fatal sleeping accidents claim the lives of many infants as a result of unsafe sleeping environments.
It is essential that parents ensure their young infants and toddlers sleep safely at all times and that the research-based guidelines are followed. Download our safe sleeping recommendations.