Sleep is an important fundamental need of every child for both mental and physical well being. We underestimate the importance of sleep, which is shown to influence the child's growth, immunity, memory and development.
The amount of sleep required varies according to the age of a child.
- A new born baby requires around 16 to 18 hours of sleep.
- A pre-school toddler may need around 12 hours of sleep including both night and day time sleep.
- A school going child, requires around 10 hours of sleep at night.
- Teenagers are recommended sleep of 9 hours but this obviously never happens.
- Adult requirement is nearly 7 to 8 hours.
But it is important to note, that it is not the quantity or duration of sleep that is important for good health, but the quality of sleep. So we need to always question whether a child is actually sleeping well, even though he/she sleeps for long hours.
When do you start suspecting a sleep problem?
Nearly 25-30% of children are known to suffer from sleep problems as per international data. Adults when sleep deprived are sleepy during the day, but this is not so with children. They can present with varied symptoms such as:
- Excessive sleeping during the day
- Moodiness and irritability
- Temper tantrums
- Emotional surges
- Hyperactive behaviour
- Grogginess when they wake up in the morning
- Reluctance to get out of bed in the morning or difficult to awaken
- Not achieving bladder control at night
- Excessive movement of legs during sleep
So in case your child has any of the above symptoms, it is important to consider the possibility of a sleep problem and consult your doctor for the same.