How Much Sleep Does Your Family Need? Bedtime Chart Explains All

Are your kids getting enough sleep? How about you and your partner? Check out this simple sleep chart that will help countless mums establish a bedtime routine that works for their families.

family sleeping

Knowing how much sleep everyone in your household needs can make your nighttime routine a lot smoother. Mercola, a leading health website in the United States, has released an easy chart to help parents navigate through sleep issues and ensure that their kids are going to bed and waking up at the right times for their age.

Updated Sleep Guidelines

While newborns need anywhere from 14 to 17 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period, adults need just half of this. According to the chart, the hours of sleep you need decreases as your age increases. However, one thing the chart doesn’t mention are the sleep habits of pregnant women, especially during the first trimester where you can expect to want to sleep about 22 hours a day.

Sleep chart guidelines

Establishing Healthy Bedtime Habits

Once you know how many hours of sleep every member of the family needs, it becomes easier to ensure you are going to bed (and staying in bed) for the right amount of time.

For example, if you would like everyone in your household to wake up around the same time (let’s pick 6:00am), then you will need to work back accordingly. While you and your partner should be asleep by 10:00pm (and probably in bed before then), your preschooler should probably be asleep around 7:30pm and your school-aged child, around 8:30pm.

So, technically, you should probably be putting them into their beds a half hour to an hour earlier to prepare them to actually go to sleep at the allocated time. This allows for story time, cuddles and 15 trips to the toilet. Or, if you have my daughter, you should probably start the bedtime routine about 5 hours in advance to prepare for the excuses why she cannot possibly go to sleep.

When trying to establish a bedtime routine for younger children, keep in mind that the hours of sleep needed are in a 24 hour period, not just at night. No newborn is going to sleep for 17 hours straight and most toddlers will sleep for around 11 hours at night, but will also require a 1-2 hour nap during the day.

Expectation Vs Reality

While these may be the general guidelines, most adults admit that they are not getting enough, especially new parents, who lose, on average 1000+ hours of sleep a year (check out some other amazing sleep facts right here).

A lack of sleep has been linked to a number of health problems including heart disease, heart attack, weight gain, diabetes and stroke. Severe sleep deprivation can lead to very scary symptoms including hallucinations and paranoia (have a look at what happened to this mum who didn’t sleep for 10 days after the birth of her son).

While getting your teenager to sleep the recommended amount is probably easy, it can be hard to convince your infant, toddler and even preschooler that they require a certain amount of rest time. This is why bedtime routines, especially from an early age, are so important. We’ve got some great newborn sleep routines as well as toddler sleep routines that have worked for other parents.

Want more tips on helping your entire family get a better night’s sleep? Check out our most popular articles on all things sleep-related. 


Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna traded in the cold mountain air for the laid back lifestyle of Australia nine years ago. She is now a mum to one son, one daughter, one dog and one cat, all of whom live with her and her partner in Cairns, QLD. When not writing about the ups and downs of parenting, she is usually outside doing some form of physical activity or indulging in a glass of antioxidant-infused fruit drink. Okay, it's wine.

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