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How much sleepdoes an 8-year-old need?

Asked by Vijaya, via e-mail

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How many hours of sleep does an 8-year-old child need?

Expert Bio Picture

Living Well Expert Dr. Jennifer Shu Pediatrician,
Children's Medical Group

Expert answer

Thank you for your question. Most elementary school-age children need an average of 10 to 11 hours of sleep per night, although the normal range may be an hour or two more or less than that. Since every child's sleep needs are different, you can look for signs that a child is getting enough sleep, including being able to wake up fairly easily in the morning and feeling rested, along with not feeling overly tired during midafternoon.

Sleep is important because certain hormones are released in the body during that time that help with growth, development and normal immune function. Also, adequate sleep aids school and sports performance, behavior, attention, memory and concentration.

Keep in mind that it's normal to take about five to 15 minutes to fall asleep. A child who takes longer than that may be overtired or overstimulated and probably needs to start the bedtime relaxation routine a little earlier.

On the other hand, if the child is well-rested and has trouble falling asleep at night, he may be ready for a slightly later bedtime.

It's a good idea to keep televisions and computers out of a child's bedroom. In addition, stop all exciting or stressful activities (such as studying, sports, intense play or video games) at least a half-hour before bedtime and instead encourage children to read books or engage in other calm and quiet routines before bed.

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