Is Your Family Getting Enough Sleep?
Sleep - we all need it, especially our children. So why is sleep one of the first things to go when life gets busy? Lack of sleep has been linked to poor school performance in adolescents, increased car crashes in teenagers and overall fussiness in infants and toddlers. You probably know when you are tired and not getting enough sleep. But do you know if your child is getting enough sleep? Here are some tips to help your child:
Infants (newborn to 18 months)
Sleep needed: 10 to 18 hours of sleep a day (including naps).
Toddlers and Preschoolers (18 months to 5 years)
Sleep needed: 11 to 14 hours a day (including naps).
School-aged children (5 to 12 years)
Sleep needed: 9 to 11 hours a night.
- Talk to your school-aged child about healthy sleep habits and why they are important.
- Continue to enforce consistent sleep schedules and bedtime routines even on the weekends.
- Make your child's bedroom the best environment for sleep - dark, cool and quiet.
- Do not allow your child to have a TV or computer in the bedroom.
- Keep your child's schedule balanced. Never let involvement in too many activities take the place of sleep.
Sleep needed: 9 hours a night.
- Help your teen plan a schedule that includes the necessary sleep time and stick to it, even on the weekends.
- Encourage your teen to develop a bedtime routine that involves quiet activities like reading or listening to soft music.
- Create a good sleep environment - cool, dark and comfortable.
- Limit caffeine, especially after lunchtime.
- Talk to your teen about the dangers of not sleeping including drowsy driving, which is just as dangerous as drunk driving.
- Teach your child to eat healthy and exercise regularly. Both will help him or her maintain a healthy weight. Overweight children are at risk for sleep apnea, a serious sleep disorder.
Be a good role model and make sleep a priority for the whole family. Talk to your child's doctor if you have any concerns. Most sleep problems are treatable.