Back to School: Tips for Better Sleep
Consistent, quality sleep is just as important as anything else your child needs to be successful in school.
As your child heads back to school this fall, you’ve made sure they have all the supplies, clothes, technology, and other items they need to be successful in the classroom. There’s just one thing missing from this list: Sleep.
Consistent, quality sleep is just as important to a successful academic year as anything you can purchase. In fact, getting enough rest is one of the most important things we can do to help our children function at the top of their game academically and otherwise.
A good amount of quality sleep is important for your child’s ability to focus and learn, and it also impacts their health and social relationships. We know poor sleep is related to many physical, social, cognitive, and behavioral problems, including misbehavior, obesity, diabetes, increased anger, reduced memory, and increased sickness.
So, how much sleep does your child need? Use these guidelines from the National Sleep Foundation to help you find your child’s ideal amount.
Newborn (0–3 months)
14–17 hours per day
Infant (4–11 months)
12–15 hours per day
Toddler (1–2 years)
11–14 hours per day
Preschool (3–5 years)
10–13 hours per day
School-age (6–13 years)
9–11 hours per night
Teenager (14–17 years)
8–10 hours per night
Young adult (18–25 years)
7–9 hours per night
Adult (26–64 years)
7–9 hours per night
Older adult (65+ years)
7–8 hours per night
To help your child get enough quality sleep, you should create a bedtime routine and keep a regular sleep and wake schedule, even on the weekends. A healthy bedtime routine includes a consistent, repetitive set of activities done every day a half-hour to an hour before bedtime. Some of the activities shown to benefit sleep for children include:
- Taking a warm bath
- Eating a nutritious snack
- Talking about their day
It also helps to follow sleep hygiene rules:
- Keep the bedroom dark, cool and quiet
- Use a fan or sound machine, instead of a TV, if your child needs noise to fall asleep
- Avoid over-the-counter sleep medications or supplements
Extension Publications 3008, “Sleep: As Important as Diet and Exercise for All Ages” and 3156, “Sleep Stealers: Conflict at Home” provide more information about quality sleep and tips for achieving it.
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