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Sleep is critical in early childhood. Research shows a direct link between sleep quantity and certain health outcomes, such as obesity. Lack of sleep in early childhood is strongly associated with increased risk of being overweight or obese in later childhood or adulthood. When individuals sleep an adequate amount, the brain releases the correct amount of hormones that control appetite and food regulation. When sleep is inadequate, the body is unable to accurately gauge when it is hungry and when it is full, which can lead to consuming more calories than are being used.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has developed sleep recommendations to ensure health in all children:

  • Infants 4-12 months: 12-16 hours per day, including naps
  • Children 1-2 years: 11-14 hours per day, including naps
  • Children 3-5 years: 10-13 hours per day, including naps
  • Children 6-12 years: 9-12 hours per day
  • Teenagers 13-18 years: 8-10 hours per day

Resources to Learn More

Healthy Sleep Habits: How Many Hours Does Your Child Need?
Provides guidelines on recommended amount of sleep for various pediatric populations and tips on creating healthy sleep habits.
Organization(s): American Academy of Pediatrics