Sound Sleep Leads to Healthy Kids
With the new school year underway, it’s time to talk about the importance of our children’s sleep habits. While it’s true that sleep needs can vary from one child to another, studies have provided some reasonable guidelines that help keep children healthy and encourage positive mental and physical development.
Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Deb Gortowski, shares a few tips for making sure children get a good quality sleep, each night.
- Quality and quantity of sleep are equally important. Sleep should be restful, with no tossing and turning, no sleepwalking, and minimal night terrors. For a recommended length of sleep, see the chart below:
- Toddlers 1-2 years need 11-14 hours (including naps)
- Preschoolers 3-5 years need 10-13 hours
- School-aged children 6-13 years need 9-11 hours
- Teenagers 14-17 years need 8-10 hours
- It’s important to stick to the same bedtime AND wake time every day, even on weekends. Staying up late during the weekend can throw off a child’s or teens sleep schedule for several days.
- A child’s bedroom should be a cool, quiet, and comfortable place. In addition, beds should be used for sleep only. Avoid letting your child do their homework, watch TV, or use their tablet while lying on their bed. Doing these activities makes it harder for the brain to understand that a bed is for sleeping.
- Encourage quiet, calm, and relaxing activities before bedtime. Listening to soft, calm music, or reading a story can help your child’s brain unwind before bed. Avoid letting your child use electronics after dinner time. Studies have shown that screen time two-hours before bed makes it harder to fall asleep.
- Establish a predictable routine leading up to bedtime, like brushing teeth, putting on pajamas, and reading a story. This will help prepare your child for a good night’s rest.
- Discuss your child’s pediatrician about sleep habits. Often times, sleep problems are easily treated.