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How To Make Sure Your Child Gets The Right Quantity & Quality of Sleep

Sleep is vital for children’s health and wellbeing (not to mention their parents’ quality of life!). When a child is asleep, they undergo rapid tissue growth and repair, an increase in blood flow to their muscles, and a release of hormones necessary for healthy growth and development.

Here are some tips to make sure your little one is getting the right quantity and quality of sleep.

1) Know Your Child’s Recommended Sleep Quantity

Since sleep recommendations vary by age, it’s important to stay up-to-date on how many hours of sleep your child should be getting each night.  Here’s the recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Infants 4 months to 12 months should sleep 12 to 16 hours per 24 hours (including naps).
  • Children 1 to 2 years of age should sleep 11 to 14 hours per 24 hours (including naps).
  • Children 3 to 5 years of age should sleep 10 to 13 hours per 24 hours (including naps).
  • Children 6 to 12 years of age should sleep 9 to 12 hours a night.
  • Teenagers 13 to 18 years of age should sleep 8 to 10 hours a night.  


2) Establish a Bedtime Routine

Children’s bodies and brains adapt to regular routines. By establishing a bedtime routine, where your child spends 30-60 minutes engaging in quiet, soothing activities, you’ll help them establish healthy habits, ease them into bedtime gradually, and help their brain prepare to go to sleep. 

Enjoying a healthy bedtime snack, taking a bath, brushing their teeth, putting on pajamas, reading, singing and having quiet conversation are all ways to help your little one relax and go to sleep on time.

3) Turn Down the Lights

It’s a good idea to turn down the lights at the beginning of the bedtime routine, since our internal body clocks are based on exposure to light and darkness. The less light children are exposed to at night, the higher their brains’ production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin will be, which will help them fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

4) Avoid Screen Time

If you want your child to fall asleep on time and stay asleep, then don’t let them have screen time for at least one hour before bedtime. Why? Because screens emit blue light, which hits the retina and causes a decrease in melatonin, which means your child will be more likely to have trouble falling asleep.

Also, TV shows, movies and video games all feature rapidly-changing images, which stimulate the brain and make children more awake (and even hyper), which is a recipe for a bedtime disaster.

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