How Much Sleep does a 12 Year Old Need?

Not getting enough sleep can make you become ill. Sleep promotes memory, alertness, and performance. Just like adults, children also need to get enough sleep to function better and have fewer behavioral problems. It is therefore important for parents to know how much sleep their child needs to stay healthy. By getting information about how much sleep is essential for your child, you can actually help them develop good sleep habits early in their lives.

How Much Sleep Does a 12-Year Old Need?

Studies show that teenagers should get at least 9 ¼ hours of sleep each night to stay healthy. Adults can function well even when they get at least 8 hours of sleep, which means a child's sleep requirements are different and they need to sleep more to be more alert during the day. Just keep in mind that the number of hours is an important figure, but the quality matters more for children.

While children need to sleep more, you should be ready to notice some changes in their sleep pattern. Their circadian rhythm may change during puberty when their bodies secrete melatonin later at night as compared to earlier childhood. It means your child may want to go to bed late at night and want to spend more time in their bed in the morning. Knowledge about these changes can really help answer, "How much sleep does a 12-year old need?"

Sleep That a Child Needs by Age

Age plays a big role in determining how much sleep a person needs. There are no set guidelines, but it is possible to determine the approximate hours of sleep your child should get at a particular age. The following table provides you with more details in this regard.


Daytime Sleep

Nighttime Sleep

1 week

8 hours

8 hours, 30 minutes

4 weeks

6-7 hours

8-9 hours

3 months

4-5 hours

10-11 hours

6 months

3 hours

11 hours

9 months

2 hours and 30 minutes

11 hours

12 months

2 hours and 30 minutes

11 hours

2 years

An hour and 30 minutes

11 hours and 30 minutes

3 years

0-45 minutes

11-12 hours

4 years


11 hours and 30 minutes

5 years


11 hours

6 years


10 hours and 45 minutes

7 years


10 hours and 30 minutes

8 years


10 hours and 15 minutes

9 years


10 hours

10 years


9 hours and 45 minutes

11 years


9 hours and 30 minutes

12 years


9 hours and 15 minutes

13 years


9 hours and 15 minutes

14 years


9 hours

15 years


9 hours

16 years


9 hours

How Do You Know If Your Child Is Not Getting Enough Sleep?

Knowing the general guidelines will help answer, "How much sleep does a 12-year old need?" However, you need to keep in mind that each child is different, and sometimes less is more. Just bear in mind that your child will show certain signs when he/she is not getting enough sleep. For instance, your child might have sleep problems if he/she:

  • Does not have enough energy during the day
  • Finds it difficult to go to sleep
  • Struggles to get out of bed in the morning
  • Wakes up several times throughout the night
  • Takes several naps during the day
  • Finds it difficult to remember information
  • Has irregular sleep patterns
  • Has sleep terrors or nightmares
  • Gets up in the middle of the night and eats

Sleep Problems to Watch Out For

While minor issues do not require medical attention, you just cannot ignore certain sleep problems. For instance, you should seek your doctor's help if you notice your child having one of the following sleep problems.

  • Nightmares: Most children have nightmares but they usually go away naturally. You should ask your child to talk about the nightmare and help them feel comfortable. Do not let them watch television before going to bed.
  • Sleep Walking/Sleep Terrors: Children usually experience these issues from 4-8 years of age. These problems disrupt sleep and keep your child from getting enough deep sleep every night. Ensure your house is safe if your child sleepwalks.
  • Sleep Apnea: This sleep disorder is characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. Your child may also snore when they have sleep apnea. Some common causes of sleep apnea are allergies, adenoids, weight problems, and underlying medical conditions. Talk to your doctor for assistance.
  • Narcolepsy: First noticed in puberty, it can affect a child at any age and causes excessive daytime sleepiness. Your child may experience uncontrollable sleep attacks. Be sure to talk to your doctor to find a treatment option.

Ways to Promote Better Sleep in Children

Knowing "How much sleep does a 12-year old need?" puts you in a better position to identify and resolve sleep problems. In case your child is not getting enough sleep, you can try the following to make things better.

  • You need to encourage your child to have a set sleep and wake routines. Ask them to follow the routine even on weekends to help maintain a regular circadian rhythm.
  • You should also give them at least 40 minutes or so to do wind-down activities before bedtime – warm milk drinks, warm baths, reading a book, writing in a journal, and listening to soothing music are all nice examples of wind-down activities.
  • Ensure your child naps in the early afternoon only. Do not let them sleep for more than 20 minutes during the day because longer daytime naps make it difficult fall asleep at night.
  • Remove any distractions from your child's bedroom.
  • Ask them to stop watching TV at least an hour before bedtime.
  • Provide your child with a quiet, dark, private space to sleep better.
  • Give your child a satisfying evening meal a few hours before bedtime.
  • Encourage your child to go play outside and get as much natural light as possible to keep circadian rhythm functioning properly.
  • Do not give them caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, energy drinks, cola, chocolate, or tea, especially in the evening.
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