Why Is Sleep Important for Children and How to Improve It?

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Getting quality sleep is not only good for your child but it’s essential for your child’s physical and mental development.

In this post, we’re going to talk about the benefits of sleep, what’ll happen if your child doesn’t get enough sleep, how much sleep is ideal, and tips for improving your child’s sleep.

Let’s start with why sleep is important for children.

Why is sleep important for children?

Sleep is super important for your children’s growth. It affects the development and functioning of your child’s mind and body.

A good night’s sleep will improve your child’s attention span, resiliency, vocabulary, cognitive performance, learning skills, memory, fine motor skills, and mood.

While these benefits are already a lot, the list doesn’t stop here. Kids who get quality sleep develop their brains faster and have a stronger immune system in adulthood compared to kids who don’t get quality sleep.

What happens when children don’t get enough sleep?

All sorts of problems occur when children don’t get enough sleep. Children can become grumpy and hyperactive (they both are symptoms of ADHD).

Lack of sleep in early childhood can lead to long-term effects on academic performance and mental health. Not enough sleep at any age can lead to obesity, allergies, diseases, substance abuse, and bad motor skills (children are at higher risk than adults).

How much sleep is ideal for children?

There is not a fixed number. The ideal amount of sleep depends on the age of the child. Below we’ve listed the ideal amount for children of all ages.

  • Under 1 year: 12-16 hours
  • 1-2 years: 11-14 hours
  • 3-5 years: 10-13 hours
  • 6-12 years: 9-12 hours
  • 13-18 years: 8-10 hours

Tips to improve sleep

Some kids go to sleep easily and others don’t. If your kid is having a problem getting quality sleep, apply the tips we’ve mentioned below.

First, we’re going to share some basic tips and then we’re going to give you the best tips for each age group.

Here are some good sleep tips:

  • Turn off all electronic devices 2 hours before sleep
  • Encourage your kids for a light playtime
  • Make your kids wear breathable cotton pajamas
  • Tell a story right before bedtime
  • Don’t let your kids take naps longer than 20 mins
  • The nap should be taken during the early afternoon
  • Give a toy for protection against ghosts
  • Limit caffeine consumption
  • Don’t drink coffee past afternoon
  • Take a warm bath before bed
  • Have a comfortable and supportive kids mattress
  • Pair the mattress with a kids memory foam pillow

These are all good tips and any one of these tips could improve your child’s sleep quality significantly. At different ages, kids make different sorts of trouble during sleep time. Let’s talk about what kind of problems kids make at what age and how to solve them.

Infants: At this age, your child may not have developed the circadian rhythm yet. If your child doesn’t sleep through the whole night, know that it’s normal.

If the child doesn’t go to sleep soon after waking up, talk with them and touch them gently (don’t pick them up). If the problem persists, your baby is probably hungry or needs a diaper change. In either case, do what needs to be done quickly and quietly.

Toddlers: Toddlers may make trouble at bedtime because of two reasons. Separation anxiety and fear of missing out. They’ll cry and argue with you to get what they want.

The solution is to give them control over minor stuff and reassure them you’re not far away. Ask them what pajamas they want to wear, what book they want to read, you get the drill. Make sure to be firm yet kind, getting angry with kids can have effects on their health.

School kids: At this age, kids have a lot on their plate. They go to school, do homework, have a social life, and have extracurricular obligations.

All this can be stressful and make it hard for your kid to get proper sleep. To counter this problem, you’ve got to be extra careful with school kids’ bedtime and sleep routine.

It’s best to create a consistent sleep routine and have your kids follow it even during holidays. Also, stop your kids from playing and doing homework in the bedroom.

Teenagers: It’s common for teenagers to have a later circadian rhythm. Meaning, when kids become teenagers they tend to go to bed later. This is not the case with all teenagers.

Identify the natural sleep timing of your kid and create a schedule that aligns with their circadian rhythm. Another good tip for helping teenagers form better sleeping and waking up habits is to form healthy sleeping habits yourself.

Teens imitate their parents’ behavior so they’ll automatically pick your healthy sleeping habits.

That’s it! We’ve covered all the tips. If you’ve found this post helpful, share it on social media so others can benefit as well. If you’ve got any questions, let us know in the comments section.