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Healthy Sleep Habits for Children


A good night’s sleep is an important part of staying healthy, especially for children.  “When children are well-rested, they feel better, and they usually perform better in school,” said Trina Marsh, Manager of the Phoebe Sleep Disorders Center.

Experts say pre-schoolers should get 10-13 hours of sleep each night.  The optimal number for children from 6-13 years of age is 9-10 hours.  If your child is 14-17, he or she needs 8-10 hours of sleep each night.

To get your kids back on a school sleep schedule after a summer of staying up later and sleeping later than normal, it’s best to start working to return to an appropriate schedule a couple of weeks before the first day of class.  “You can set a slightly earlier bedtime and wake-up time each day to help your children adjust,” Marsh said.  “And once you establish a schedule, stick with it.  You shouldn’t let your children vary their sleep patterns much on weekends.”

Here are some other healthy sleep tips:

  • Establish a relaxing bedtime routine that includes quiet time or a bedtime story to help your children unwind.
  • Limit television, video games and other electronic distractions before bedtime.
  • Avoid big meals and caffeine close to bedtime.
  • Maintain a comfortable bedroom environment that is not too hot or cold and is free of distractions such as television and computer.
  • Set a good example for your children by sticking to a regular sleep cycle yourself.

A good sleep schedule helps children be fully rested and more excited for the school day and will help kids and parents have a better school year.  If you feel you or your child may have a sleep disorder, you should discuss symptoms and concerns with your primary care provider.  For more information about the Phoebe Sleep Center, call 312-1220.