Malia Jacobson is a sleep journalist, columnist, coach, and mom of two. She blogs about sleep and parenting at www.thewellrestedfamily.com.
Horrendous bedtimes. Night awakenings that seem never-ending. Feeling as though you never have a moment to yourself. Sound familiar? You may be living with a short-sleeper—a child who needs less sleep than most.
Many of us arrive at parenthood believing that babies sleep around the clock, only to find ourselves parenting a child who seems to barely sleep at all. In truth, kids’ sleep needs vary widely. Average sleep times for children are 14-16 hours of sleep per day for newborns, 12-14 hours for toddlers, 10-12 hours for children three to six, but some kids don’t need this much sleep. A few need significantly less.
Although true “short-sleepers”—people who can get by on just a few hours of nightly sleep— make up just 3-5 percent of the population, the percentage of kids who need less sleep than average is much higher. And these short sleepers can tax their tired parents emotionally and physically. Continue reading