Mental Health Month badge

Sleep is a vital part of children’s overall health and wellness. Sleep gives the mind and body time to rest, regenerate and recover. Lack of sleep can cause a long list of issues that can impact a child’s ability to learn, retain information and manage stress and other emotions. However, there are many things parents can do to help children get the sleep they need to grow, develop and thrive.

Recommendations to improve your child’s sleep

Recommended Sleep: According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, how much sleep a child needs for optimal health varies depending on their age. For example, a child 1-2 years old should get 11-14 hours, while teenagers 13-18 years old should get about 8-10 hours1.
  1. Establish a consistent bedtime routine. This can help "signal" your child’s body that it is time to fall asleep.
  2. Set a consistent sleep and wake time for your child each day, including weekends and holidays.
  3. Remove electronic devices such as tablets and smart phones from your child’s room. These devices emit blue light, which affects the body’s naturally occurring melatonin, fooling the brain into thinking it is daytime.
  4. Avoid all activities (like homework or watching TV) except sleeping in bed.
  5. Try to avoid napping or limit naps to 20 minutes.
  6. Physical activity or play during the morning or afternoon can help promote sleep. However, physical activity in the evening can actually make it more difficult for your child to fall asleep.
  7. Make sure the temperature in your child’s room is cool and comfortable.
  8. Practice relaxation strategies with your child, such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery to reduce anxiety and promote sleep.
  9. If your child cannot fall asleep between 15-20 minutes, encourage them to get out of bed and and read or do another relaxing activity, then get back into bed when they feel sleepy.
  10. If your child continues to struggle falling or staying asleep, consider talking to your child’s doctor about other issues that may be causing their sleep problems.