Though each child is unique and many children seem to need more or less sleep than the norm, there are general guidelines about how much sleep children are observed to need.
- Newborn Infants tend to spend most of their time sleeping; as many as a total of 18 hours or more daily may be spent sleeping. Newborns, aged 1 to 4 weeks of age typically will sleep for short durations of 2 to 4 hours at a stretch and to begin with there may be no pattern of sleep at all. [baby sleep]
- Between 1 and 4 months of age infants still spend a large part of 24 hours sleeping; about 14 to 16 hours every day are spent sleeping. By this time a schedule of sorts may have developed and the baby determines when and how much sleep is required. Some babies seem to need as much as 18 hours of sleep a day even till the age of 12 months whereas some babies seem to manage just fine on just 10 to 12 hours of sleep.
- Between 1 and 3 years of age, children need between 12 and 15 hours of sleep. By the time a child is about 3, he or she may voluntarily have given up their day time naps and the night time sleep is all they seem to need.
- Between 3 and 5 years of age children need between 11 and 13 hours of sleep, and by this time most children are able to give up their day time nap if they are able to get sufficient uninterrupted rest at night.
- Between 5 and 12 years of age children may need anywhere between 9 and 11 hours of sleep, though again there are exceptions who need more or less sleep.
- Adolescents and teens, contrary to popular belief also need quite a bit more sleep than do adults and many may need up to 10 hours of sleep. This is true even for teens over 15, who also need more sleep than do adults.
The uses of sleep particularly in children is the subject matter of intense study, however even conventional wisdom has shown that optimum sleep is required by children for their development and growth.
Sleep even affects bodily processes such as healing and restoration of the organs of the human body and sleep deprivation can affect all animals negatively.