Sleep is important to everyone, but especially for kids. It’s when their bodies create the proteins that allow them to fight germs and allow them to grow. A child who is well-rested will have better attention and store more memories than a child who isn’t. They are also more likely to be more creative with their problem-solving. How much sleep does your child need though?
If you are worried about whether your child is sleeping enough or sleeping too much, talk to your doctor about it the next time you go in. In the meantime, here’s some knowledge to help you ward off any worries. If they are falling asleep when they shouldn’t be, forcing you to drag them out of bed in the morning, or sleeping all day on the weekends to catch up on their sleep debt, they are not getting enough sleep.
According to the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, kids who are less than a year old need approximately 12 to 16 hours a day of sleep. That may seem excessive, but as they get older, the less sleep they will need. Children between the ages of one and two years old need between 11 and 14 hours a day and between 3 and 5, they need 10 to 13 hours a day.
Elementary school-aged kids, between 6 and 12 years old, need between 9 and 12 hours and teenagers need 8 to 10 hours a day. This is a time when it’s a struggle to get enough sleep between their in-school hours, their extracurricular activities, and the need to do their homework. Most children and teenagers only get eight hours of sleep a night, which is not nearly enough for their bodies to develop the way they need to be.
In addition to all of that, teenagers tend to struggle with delayed sleep phase syndrome, which means that while they may go to bed on time, their brains won’t allow them to fall asleep for a while later.
With that in mind, here are some ways you can create good sleep habits.
Chances are, it’s been a while since your child got a new mattress or mattress pad. Try taking them to test out mattresses to see what is the most comfortable for them.
Setting a consistent bedtime will make it possible for your child to start when they are well rested. It may not make you popular, but it’ll be great for them in nearly every aspect of their lives.
The older your child gets, the more likely they are to struggle to sleep. However, this also means that they are more able to tell you when something is bothering them and causing them to have trouble sleeping. Take advantage of that and ask your kid how they slept.
Also, you can check out this resource from Sleep Advisor on sleep health and news focusing specifically on children’s sleep in a guide for parents.
Interested in more blog posts about children’s health? Check out our health-related blog posts. Looking for special needs resources? Check out our special needs category.
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