Sleeping is an important part of overall health and wellbeing. Many children, especially teenagers and those with busy schedules, have trouble getting adequate sleep on a regular basis. Frequently sleeping fewer than the recommended number of hours for one’s age can increase risk for health problems such as hypertension, obesity, and headaches. It can also impair social and mental function across all age groups. On the other hand, adequate sleep can lead to a stronger immune system, better school performance, improved mental health, and better memory and behavior. The recommended amount of sleep varies based on your child’s age:
Ages 4-12 months: 12-16 hours (including naps)
Ages 1-2 years: 11-14 hours (including naps)
Ages 3-4 years: 10-13 hours (including naps)
Ages 6-12 years: 9-12 hours per night
Ages 13-18 years: 8-10 hours per night
The AAP recommends maintaining a consistent sleep schedule with the same sleep and wake times as much as possible, even on the weekends. Having a bedtime routine in place helps with maintaining a schedule and improving the quality of sleep. Turning off screens 1 hour before bedtime is one way to encourage good sleeping habits. The bedroom and bed should also be reserved for sleep; avoid too many toys or laying in bed watching television or other screens. In forming a routine for young children, use the three B’s as your guide: Brush teeth, read a Book, and go to Bed at a scheduled time. Staying active during the day helps facilitate better sleep as well, but be careful not to overschedule the day so your child has time to wind down at home before bed. If you have concerns regarding your child’s sleep, call to schedule an appointment. For more information, click here to read an article about sleep from Healthy Children.
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). (November 16, 2020). Healthy Sleep Habits: How Many Hours Does Your Child Need? https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/sleep/Pages/healthy-sleep-habits-how-many-hours-does-your-child-need.aspx