Kids And Sleep

Children need 9 to 10 hours of sleep every night. Insufficient sleep can result in seriously impaired performance and behavior - in school, sports and other activities. Kids need more sleep than adults so they need to sleep on a bed that provides a comfortable and healthy sleeping environment.  Dr. James Maas, sleep expert and professor at Cornell University, says that kids 14 years and younger need at least 9 ¼ hours of uninterrupted sleep a night.  Older teenagers, despite their protestations to the contrary, should still be getting a healthy night's rest of about 9 hours because of the emotional and physical changes they are experiencing. Today’s teens are a sleep-deprived generation that drinks more caffeine, gets up earlier for school and goes to bed later than ever.

Some tips for kids:

  • Don’t rely on caffeine to keep you awake – it’ll make it more difficult when you try to fall asleep
  • Keep regular bedtime hours
  • Try to limit late-night computer usage.  Being on the computer stimulates adrenalin and, like caffeine, makes it difficult to fall asleep
  • Get homework done early in the evening whenever possible

Some tips for parents:

  • Make sure kids understand it’s important to get a good night’s sleep.  Don’t sacrifice good health for good grades; it’s likely their grades will suffer without adequate sleep
  • Encourage your kids to go to bed at the same time every night and that they get an adequate number of hours of sleep, depending on their age
  • Let your children sleep in if they’re tired on the weekends – it’s probably not just laziness.  Make sure, however, that their oversleeping isn’t because of depression or other medical problems
  • Make sure your child has a good quality mattress set that provides proper support and is comfortable to him or her.  A hand-me-down mattress isn’t appropriate – you should invest in a mattress set for your child just as you should for yourself
  • Children need a dark, quiet, cool bedroom setting just as adults do
  • Develop a nightly ritual of bedtime activities for younger children such as reading to them or singing and don’t divert from it