4 Tips to Help Your Child Get a Better Night of ZZZs

One of the best things you can do for your child is ensure he or she is getting proper sleep. Whether your kids are 18 months old or 18 years old, a restful night of ZZZs can improve their mood, behavior and overall health. But what can you do to help your child achieve this? Dr. Christopher Allen from the Covenant Sleep Center shared some of his expert tips to establish good sleep hygiene.

Get the recommended amount
Eight hours of sleep a night — it’s the number we’ve always heard. But Dr. Allen revealed that individuals of different ages require different amounts of sleep (and that eight hours is actually the recommended amount for adults, not children). So how long should your child be in dreamland each night? See what the doctor orders:

  • Teenagers (14-17 years): 8-10 hours
  • School-aged (6-13 years): 9-11 hours
  • Preschoolers (3-5 years): 10-13 hours
  • Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours
  • Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours
  • Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours

Keep it consistent
Parents should try to establish a consistent bedtime and wake-up time for their children. This will not only get kids on a healthy schedule, but it will also give them an idea of when bedtime is approaching. Dr. Allen suggests giving your child bedroom passes for water or the bathroom to decrease the “curtain-call time” (you know, when they ask for things over and over again right when they are supposed to be going to sleep).

Establish a technology-free zone
Before bed, give your children 30 minutes of wind-down time where you dim the lights and get them away from their devices. Even with the devices that are on the market now, technology can disrupt melatonin levels. When these levels decrease, it decreases an individual’s desire to fall asleep. A good trick for adults and children alike is to keep phones, iPads and gaming devices on the dresser away from the bed, not on the night stand.

Dr. Allen recommends keeping TVs and computers out of the bedroom as well. If your child does have a TV or computer in his/her room, make sure it’s off when it’s time for sleep. You want the bedroom to be set up for sleeping, not entertainment.

Ask a doc
If your child has proper sleep hygiene but is still experiencing problems falling asleep or staying asleep, it might be time to consult a doctor. You might also want to speak to a doctor if your child is experiencing things like chronic nightmares, snoring, sleep apnea, or hyperactivity/moodiness during the day.

Getting a good night of sleep is imperative for your child’s health – and yours too. Find more tips about healthy sleep and information about sleep studies here.

Posted Date: 4/5/2017

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