Proper Zzzs for Kids

By ParkwayHealth 2021-10-21 16:41:20

A good night’s sleep is essential to recharge after a busy day. During sleep, your child’s body produces growth hormones. 

Sleep helps in maintaining a healthy weight. Sleep-deprived children don’t produce enough of the hormone that tells our brain to stop eating, increasing the likelihood of obesity.

Sleep helps to build a strong immune system because germ-fighting proteins are produced during sleep.

Getting enough sleep increases attention span, making it easier to focus at school and retain information.

A study found every hour a child spends doing nothing adds three whole minutes to the time it takes them to drift off. So, if you’re struggling to get your child to settle into a routine, adding physical activity into their schedule will tire them out. The study also found children who fall asleep faster are also more likely to sleep for longer.



Eating a heavy dinner late in the evening can confuse your child’s body clock, and push their bedtime back further. Avoid feeding your child sugary or fatty foods, such as chocolate or cheese, before bed as they take a long time to digest and may keep your child alert instead of sending them to sleep. Also avoid black or green tea, as they contain caffeine, which can alter sleep patterns. 

Using technology before bed increases alertness and causes difficulty falling asleep. After 1.5 hours looking at a bright screen, our body produces less melatonin, the sleepy hormone.

This can have negative health repercussions. One study of children links increased screen time with increased sleep anxiety and sleep disturbance. Further studies associate a lack of sleep with decreased productivity, depression, lack of energy and poor school performance.

If you’re using your phone a lot around bedtime, your children are likely to follow your lead. If possible, take a time to switch off as a family.



Hyperactivity, problems interacting with peers, emotional difficulties, these behavioral issues are more common if a child is sleep deprived.

While no two children are the same, establishing a set bedtime based on their habits and sticking to it is an ideal first step for your routine.

Everybody has a different internal body clock. Early risers tend to have a faster body clock, while night owls tend to have a slow one. If your child is sleeping in too long or rising too early before school, natural light can help to reset their body clock and promote healthy sleep.

Anything that resembles sunlight, including blue-rich lights (like phone screens) can impact your child’s ability drift off at night, so try to make sure the room is as dark as possible. Not enough sunlight in the morning can confuse your child’s body clock. In the morning, open the curtains, turn on bright lights or sit outside for breakfast.


If you are not sure what time your child should be going to sleep, here is a guide:

4~12 months

12~16 hours a day 
(including naps) 


1~2 years

11~14 hours a day 
(including naps) 


3~5 years

10~13 hours a day 
(including naps)


6~12 years

9~12 hours a day


13~18 years

8~10 hours a day




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