Have you ever wondered if your children are getting enough sleep? With the hustle and bustle of life, it’s difficult for parents to make sure that their kids are catching enough ZZZs. Although it may be hard, ensuring that your little ones have a decent amount of shut-eye time is very important. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, adequate sleep is linked with improved attention, behavior, learning, mental well-being, and physical health. Insufficient sleep increases risks for obesity, diabetes, accidents, depression, and in teens, self-harm including suicide attempts.
Sleep Guidelines for Kids by Age
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has released a recommendation of sleep guidelines for kids by age, based on a review of scientific evidence on sleep duration and health. For infants aged 4-12 months (younger babies aren’t included because they have a wide range of normal sleep patterns), doctors suggest that they should be sleeping 12-16 hours including naps. Children between one and two should be sleeping 11-14 hours, and kids that are three to five should be sleeping 10-13 hours nightly. Little ones between the ages of six to twelve should be getting 9-12 hours of sleep, while teens aged thirteen to eighteen should be in bed for a minimum of 8-10 hours.
This chart outlines the new sleep guidelines for kids by age simply:
How to Choose the Best Kids Mattress
When you first had your baby, choosing a crib mattress was probably fairly easy, as most of them have a standard size and firmness level. However, by the age of two to three, most children should be moving from their crib to a standard bed. Most parents stick to one of three sizes of mattresses: twin, twin XL, full, and full XL but deciding on what type of mattress can be a different story.
Firm or Plush?
When you first feel a mattress, it usually feels firm or plush. If the top-cushioning layer is thicker, a mattress is usually considered plusher. This has no bearing on support, and most times, a mattress’ firmness is a personal preference. Go to the mattress store and try several mattresses out. A mattress that feels comfortable for you will most likely suit your child.
Firm: Firm mattresses offer a stable, floating feeling. Younger kids transitioning from a crib mattress often enjoy a firmer mattress. Also, kids that sleep on their stomach usually prefer a firm sleeping surface so that they can keep their spine in proper alignment and prevent their back from bowing in too much.
Plush: Plush mattresses offer a pillow-top feel that kids can sink into. Older kids typically like the thick cushioning of this comfort level. If your little one is a side-sleeper or likes to sleep on their back, a plush mattress could be for them.
What type of support?
There are several different types of mattresses and they all use different technologies to support your kid while they sleep. Depending on your child’s needs, a certain mattress type can help them get adequate snooze time. Denver Mattress offers custom fittings, where an experienced professional will figure out which type of mattress will put your kid in neutral spine alignment, relaxing the muscles, and allowing a better night’s rest. Schedule an appointment at your local store to find the best mattress for your little one.
Innerspring: This type of long-lasting support is the best value. Using tempered steel that locks in the shape of the coil to increase longevity and comfort, traditional interlaced innersprings are the most widely used and trusted support units in mattresses. Offering in-line body support, these mattresses offer years of durability at an affordable price. Our favorites for kids are the Doctor’s Choice® Firm and the Doctor’s Choice® Plush.
Individual Coil: Sometimes referred to as marshal or pocketed coils, individually wrapped coils are just that – coils that are wrapped inside their own individual pockets. Offering true body conforming comfort and unprecedented motion separation, this support type is one step up from an innerspring mattress. Our top pick for children is the Buena Vista Plush Mattress.
Memory Foam: Known by many brand names, Viscoelastic memory foam is a unique formulation of polyurethane foam that offers amazing body conforming properties. Usually used in the comfort layers of a mattress, memory foam can conform to every curve of the body to give your child a supportive yet comfortable night’s sleep. This type of mattress is also hypoallergenic, resistant to dust mites, fungus, and bacteria, so if your kid struggles with allergies, memory foam is a good option. A best seller for kids is the Green Choice® Bliss.
Latex: Direct from the Hevea Brasiliensis, or rubber tree, latex is one of the most amazing components used in mattresses today. After being formed into a comfort layer using either the Talalay or Dunlop process, latex produces a weightless feel and is one of the most durable comfort layers used in bedding. Our choice for kids is the Breckenridge® HeveaPUR® Euro Top.
Shop latex mattresses here.
Crib Mattress: These mattresses are pretty standard, and are usually pretty firm. Crib mattresses are typically used for kids under the age of three. Our go-to for crib mattresses is the Madison Crib Mattress.
Shop crib mattresses here.
How to Choose the Best Kids Bed
Besides the type of mattress, the right bed can also help your child want to hit the hay. There are so many adorable beds out there, and it can be fun to shop with your little one for something that catches their fancy.
Transitional beds help parents get the most bang for their buck. Transitioning from a crib, to a toddler bed with rails, and eventually a full bed, transitional beds will grow with your child, avoiding drastic changes that induce stress. One of our favorites is the Jameson 3-in-1 Crib, with matching furniture available.
Getting your child to go to bed can be rough, so getting them a bed that they feel safe and comfortable in is important. Many kids beds come as playhouses, serving a dual purpose for sleep and fun. The Gigi Fort Bed is the perfect place to let your little one rest, and as a bonus, the retreat’s walls act as guardrails, ensuring your kid won’t fall out of bed.
A great space saver, a daybed is ideal for your kid to get the recommended sleep. If your child likes to have sleepovers, a pullout trundle is the best way to get extra hideaway sleep space. The Loft Daybed is one of our top picks and will accommodate your toddler as well as your teen.
A smart combination of comfort and utility, a storage bed allows for compact organization of books, trophies, and the like. If your little one is having trouble sleeping, store a flashlight, monster spray (water in a spray bottle), or a comforting item on the bookcase near their head. The Bristol Valley Captain’s Bed is charming, rustic, and functional.
Helpful Bedtime Hints
Finding the best mattress and bed combo is a great start, but for anyone who has kids, it can still be hard to get them to go to sleep. Try some of these helpful hints to get your child to rest, ensuring that they get the recommended sleep for their age group.
- Establish a routine: A bedtime routine can be one of the easiest ways to make sure your kid is getting enough sleep each night. Establish a time when your child will start getting ready for bed, and remind them at intervals before this time arrives (10 minutes, 5 more minutes, etc.). Do tasks in the same order each night, so your kid knows what is in store (ex: brush teeth, change into pajamas, read book, lay down).
- Bedtime stories: Not only does reading encourage mental development, but it also is a leisurely activity that will calm them before going to sleep. Try investing in a fun, plush chair such as the Bear Chair or the Owl Chair, and encourage your little one to spend some time reading (or being read to) in it before bedtime.
- Lighting: Don’t use lights that are too harsh or bright in your child’s bedroom. Choose softer, warmer bulbs that encourage sleep. Is your little one afraid of the dark? Consider getting them a night-light or bedside flashlight so they feel safe through the night. You can learn more about lighting for the bedroom (as well as other rooms of the house) here.
- Bedding: Many kids are particular about their bedding, so finding fun, soft sheets and comforters is important. Ask your child what type of bedding feels the softest to them, and experiment with different fabrics, colors, and patterns. If you have a little one with a bed-wetting problem, invest in a mattress protector, which will reduce the clean up time in the middle of the night, allowing more sleep for your child, as well as yourself!
- Comfort items: Many kids do not like sleeping alone, so make sure that they have an item that provides them comfort throughout the night. Whether it’s a well-loved blanky, stuffed animal, or doll, keep the item safely in their bed and let you child know that this item is reserved for nighttime.