How Many Hours Of Sleep Should A 6 Year Old Get?

The Importance of Sleep for 6-Year-Olds

Balancing the right amount of sleep for a six year old is important for their overall health, growth, and cognitive development. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children aged six years should aim for about 9 to 12 hours of sleep per 24-hour period. Adequate sleep at this age is crucial for many aspects of a child’s well-being, including their attention span, learning abilities, memory consolidation, behavior, and physical health.

Understanding Sleep Needs

While 9 to 12 hours is recommended, it’s important to note that sleep needs can vary slightly from one child to another. This is due to individual differences like their level of physical activity, their overall health, and how much sleep they’ve previously been getting. To fine-tune a six year old’s sleep schedule, observe their behavior for signs they are getting enough rest, such as waking up easily in the morning, staying alert throughout the day, and having consistent energy levels.

Signs of Adequate Sleep

  • Easy to wake in the morning
  • Alert and focused throughout the day
  • Consistent energy levels
  • Mood stability

Signs of Inadequate Sleep

  • Difficulty waking up in the morning
  • Drowsiness or napping during the day
  • Heightened emotions or mood swings
  • Difficulty focusing or problems with behavior

Creating a Healthy Sleep Environment

Ensuring a six year old gets adequate sleep involves creating a conducive sleep environment and a consistent bedtime routine. A dark, quiet, and cool room can make a big difference, as can keeping screens out of the bedroom to avoid exposure to stimulating blue light before bedtime. Establishing a bedtime routine, such as reading a book or taking a warm bath, can signal to a child’s body that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep.

Bedtime Routines and Sleep Hygiene

  • Set a consistent bedtime and wake time
  • Limit screen time an hour before sleep
  • Use calming activities like reading or listening to soft music
  • Ensure the bedroom is comfortable, quiet, and dark

Diet and Exercise

What a child eats and how active they are can also influence their sleep. A balanced diet without too much sugar and heavy meals close to bedtime can prevent sleep disturbances. Similarly, regular physical activity during the day can help tire a child out so they are ready for rest at night.

The Role of Naps

By the age of six, many children have outgrown the need for a daytime nap. However, some may still benefit from a short nap, especially if they wake up particularly early or are undergoing a period of rapid growth or learning. If a nap is needed, it’s best to keep it early in the afternoon so it doesn’t interfere with nighttime sleep.

Addressing Sleep Issues

Facing sleep challenges with six year olds isn’t uncommon, and there may be several contributing factors like stress, anxiety, or even sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome. If a child is having consistent trouble sleeping, it’s important to consult with a pediatrician. They can help identify any underlying issues and provide strategies or treatment options.

Common Sleep Challenges

  • Resistance to going to bed
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Nighttime awakenings
  • Early morning wake-ups

When to Seek Professional Help

If sleep problems persist or there are concerns about a child’s sleep patterns, it’s best to seek advice from a healthcare professional. They can offer guidance tailored to the child’s specific needs and circumstances.

Finishing Thoughts

In conclusion, sleep is a pivotal aspect of a six year old’s development and daily functioning. Aiming for 9 to 12 hours of sleep per night can pave the way for positive health outcomes and optimal growth. By observing your child’s behavior, maintaining a consistent sleep routine, and making adjustments as needed, you can help your six year old reach the right amount of restful sleep. For persistent sleep problems, remember that professional help is available and valuable in ensuring your child’s wellbeing. Sleep is not just a period of rest, but a foundation for your child’s future.


  • Dominic Johnson

    Hello! I’m Dominic Johnson, the whimsical wizard behind the world of sleep at With a background in Sleep Psychology and a quirky love for all things dozy and dreamy, I bring a sprinkle of fun to bedtime blues. I've spent my career unraveling the mysteries of the Sandman, turning dense science into cozy bedtime stories. When I'm not buried in research papers or testing the fluffiness of the latest pillows, I'm usually found playing impromptu lullabies on my old guitar for my twin daughters or teaching my labrador, Rocket, new tricks. My approach to sleep is simple: blend science with a touch of magic and a hearty laugh.

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