Does your baby get enough sleep?

_english baby sleep sleep assessment sleep coaching sleep needs sleep training Dec 21, 2020

Don't rely on random tables and charts about sleep needs! The National Sleep Foundation reviewed the scientific literature and determined the recommended amount of sleep from birth to adulthood and the amount that may be appropriate in some cases*.  I will also teach you how to tell whether your child gets enough zzz's, and if you would like a personalized sleep assessment for free, you can fill out this form!


Hello everyone. It's Anna, thank you so much for tuning in today. You are listening to The Baby Sleep Project Show: the place to learn about baby sleep and sleep coaching.

I often get asked about the amount of sleep children need. Like is it enough for a nine-month-old baby to sleep 11 hours a day? Or Do you think my child is sleep-deprived? And that is a clever question, because when you are thinking about sleep coaching, one of the first steps to take is to decide what the problems are that you would like to fix.

Two of the most common problems probably are an insufficient amount of sleep, or too frequent wake-ups and, while too frequent wakeup usually cause more problems for parents than for the children but, when a child doesn't sleep enough that is usually harder on the child than on the parents because, a sleep-deprived child is usually cranky, tired more prone to crying and tantrums.

Their attention span is shorter, they are not ready to learn or to engage in social interactions, and this Robs them many opportunities to develop to learn. So, if your child doesn't sleep enough, that is definitely something that you should try to fix. Starting with designing a good age-appropriate schedule, where you aim for your child to sleep more, so you should design the schedule so that you allow your child enough opportunity to sleep.

So, instead of answering all these questions about individual sleep needs, I have decided to put together a short questionnaire, where you answer a few questions and I will send you a one-page evaluation about your baby's sleep. They get as my early Christmas present for you.

So, why should you use this questionnaire instead of just looking up the recommended hours of sleep for your baby on the internet? I will give you four reasons. First of all, my sleep evaluation is scientifically based. So, if you look up sleep needs on the internet, you might, find some untrustworthy information.

For example, when a baby's sleep consultant tells you that her recommendations are based on her own experience with thousands of babies, and that is supposed to increase your trust. I think that is the moment you want to run away. First of all, because any sleep consultant's experience is based on babies who have sleep problems. And when you are trying to answer a general question like this, you need access to the general population and not those, who need help.

Second of all, if the sleep consultant did not conduct proper research, then her judgment is probably skewed in one direction or the other. People are biased and that is just human nature. It has nothing to do with, how good an expert the sleep consultant is. The only thing you can do to avoid this bias is to follow the steps of scientific research.

So disclaimer!

This questionnaire and the sleep evaluation is not based on my own experience. Instead, it is based on a research paper by The National Sleep Foundation. And, I chose this particular research paper because I found it quite trustworthy. I also cross-reference with some other research and, it was consistently similar. And, what The National Sleep Foundation did is that they gathered 18 experts, who reviewed the scientific literature up to date and, compose the table containing the recommended amount of sleep from birth to adulthood. And this is a 2015 research. So it's quite recent.

So, when 18 experts review hundreds of scientific papers, I believe, when they reach a consensus, that will be more trustworthy than, any other odd website on the internet. Okay. So I will, reference the paper in the show notes and you can try to download it yourself, if you want. I also liked this research because, it doesn't only specifies the recommended amount of sleep, but it also specifies the amount of sleep that may be appropriate depending on your child's individual sleep needs.

So you might, know that sleep needs are genetically determined. We all know people who are happy on just six hours sleep per night. But, we also know people who need at least, nine hours to function normally. And, not all people are average, right? There are the extremes who might, need less or more sleep than the average.

So, I liked this particular research paper because it specifies the recommended range that is okay for most people, but it also specifies a range below that and above that, that might be appropriate for a minority of people. If you just look up the website of The National Sleep Foundation, unfortunately they took down this information from their website, but it is still in the scientific paper. So you can, look for that on the internet and download it.

Okay, so that is the first advantage of my sleep evaluation that it is based on real science. The second advantage is that it is personalized to some extent, so I will not only ask you how much your baby sleeps but, I will also ask you about your baby's mood during the day, based on your answers. And on this may be, appropriate range by The National Sleep Foundation. I will tell you whether your baby is getting enough sleep.

For example, if your baby sleeps less than what is recommended, but generally in a good mood, then probably he's genetically predisposed to sleep less than the average. And, he gets the amount of sleep that he needs, or if your baby sleeps within the recommended range, but it's usually cranky and looks tired. Then, this might mean that she needs more sleep, than the average. So, I will not only tell you whether your child falls into this range or that range, but I will base my judgment about whether she gets enough sleep, based on her mood too.

So, the third thing about my sleep affiliation is, that it takes into consideration that sleep needs decrease with age gradually. So you might have noticed, that if you look up sleep needs on the internet, you will find a table usually where in the first column, there's an age range. For example, from zero to six months, from six to 12 months, from one year to three years, and so on and so forth. And on the second column, you will find the recommended sleep. And this is true for this research too.

So, I will read you what the recommended daily sleep is for different ages, according to The National Sleep Foundation. So for newborns, which is from 0 to 3 months, it's 14 to 17 hours. For infants, which is from 4 months to 12 months. It is 12 to 15 hours for toddlers, which is from 1 year to 3 years. It is 11 to 14 hours for preschoolers, which is from 3 years to 6 years. It is 10 to 13 hours for school aged children, which is from 6 years to 14 years. It is 9 to 11 hours for teenagers, which is from 14 to 18 years. It is from 8 to 10 hours for young adults, which is from 18 to 25 years, it is 7 to 9 hours. And for older adults, which is above 25 years of age, it is 7 to 8 hours. So, this table makes for, quite abrupt changes, especially in, the first few years.

So for example, a newborn is supposed to sleep from 14 to 17 hours and the four months old is supposed to sleep from 12 to 15 hours. So, that's a two hours drop on both sides of the range. And, I smooth this out in my recommendations. So, from the stepwise abrupt changes, I made one smooth, a gradual change throughout the years.

So, For example, if your child is four months old, he will only be compared to other four months old, and not to the 12 months old with whom he is in the same age range. Right? So, I transformed the sleep recommendations from this research paper to show a gradual decrease over the years.

And finally, the fourth advantage of my sleep recommendation is that you will see what's coming. I will include a nice graph, which will predict how much your child will sleep throughout the years. So, you will know that the amount of sleep, gradually decreases through development, most rapidly, in the first year of life, none the less rapidly on the school age and after that, these days more or less constant. And, the reasoning behind this prediction is that if your child needs more, or less sleep than, the average now than, he will probably need more or less sleep than to the average as she grows up to.

So, children will usually stay in the same percentile. Okay, and there is only one disadvantage of my sleep evaluation is that it is not entirely automized, yet. So, you might have to wait for a day or two until I send you, your sleep evaluation, because it will not be just a click of a button, but I hope it will reverse the wait and that you will like it. You can find the link to the questionnaire in the show notes.

And don't forget that, if you buy my e-book or audio book or Bose as a Christmas present for yourself, or maybe for someone else, you can get a 50% off with the discount code podcast at checkout. So the discount code is podcast Merry Christmas, everyone, and see you next time.