The older you get, the less you tend to sleep. Consequently, children are seen as needing more sleep than adults. Babies sleep for most of the day, so parents may think children should need less sleep than this. Or do they? The actual answer is “it depends,” according to pediatric doctors.
The nature of sleep is complex. Because it isn’t a single, simple process, it is a bit silly to state that all children of a certain age will need “X” hours of sleep, because that simply isn’t true. Every child is different-even siblings may need completely different amounts of sleep. Therefore, a pediatrician who states your child needs nine to ten hours of sleep is giving a ballpark figure-one that suits the average.
In reality, children’s doctors will ask you a few questions before answering this particular question. Does your child need a nap during the day? Does he or she appear alert and awake when in class and at home? Does your child wake up relatively easily in the morning and fall asleep within 15 to 30 minutes at night?
If the answer is no to the first question and yes to the others, your child is getting enough sleep. If your child does need naps during the day, make sure he or she is getting enough exercise. It may also be worth asking for a referral to a pediatric doctor who specializes in sleep disorders.