Many American children and teenagers are not getting enough sleep. A good night’s sleep is essential for mood and focus. And also for forming and maintaining memories- a huge impact on success at school. How much sleep should children and teens be gettings? How do you implement healthy sleep habits? How is a good night’s sleep negatively impacted? Let’s address how we can get back to reliable, restorative sleep.
How much sleep should children and teens be getting each night?
Children and teens require a higher amount of sleep each night than the average adult.
- Children of preschool age (3-5) should be getting between 10 and 13 hours of sleep.
- School-aged children (6-13) should be getting 9-11 hours of sleep.
- Teens and Pre-teens (14-17) should be getting 8-10 hours of sleep.
How to Implement Healthy Sleep Habits?
Stick to a Schedule
With Summer breaks ending and holiday breaks on the horizon, you will want to be prepared. The first thing is that any adjustments surrounding sleep schedules should be done incrementally. Sleep Foundation suggests “having your child wake up 15 minutes earlier and go to sleep 15 minutes earlier than they have been during their break. By the first day back to school, they should be adjusted to the new sleep schedule and ready to go.” This can also be applied when trying to implement a better sleep schedule during the school year when late nights can become too frequent. Once you’ve got your schedule in place it’s important to stick to it. Consistency is key!
Add a Relaxing Activity to the Routine
A before-bed routine can help get bodies into the habit to prepare for sleep. If there is a struggle with getting to sleep in the first place, add a relaxing activity to the routine to get them winding down earlier. This can get your children into a calm mind space before even getting into bed. Some suggestions include:
- Taking a warm shower or bath
- Brushing teeth and washing up
- Listening to soothing music
Avoiding Bad Habits
Have Good Sleep Hygiene
While focusing on getting good sleep, there are some things to keep in mind that will help. These tips help with overall sleep wellness and aid in achieving good sleep consistently.
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid excessive caffeine, and avoid it altogether later in the day
- Do some light stretching
- Avoid eating or exercising before bed
Avoid Blue Light Starting 1 Hour Before Bed
Americans spend 7 hours on average using tech devices. The blue light from these devices is harmful to good sleep. This is because the blue light directly intervenes with your body, and blocks the hormone melatonin. Melatonin is the natural hormone that makes you sleepy and prepares you for bed. Staying in front of blue light will keep you from feeling tired, leading to late nights and an inadequate amount of sleep. Starting one hour before bed, put the devices away and focus on winding down for the evening.
Sources: Sleep Foundation (https://www.sleepfoundation.org/school-and-sleep/back-to-school-sleep-tips)
Cleveland Clinic (https://health.clevelandclinic.org/back-to-school-means-back-to-bedtime/)