School children who get 9 hours of sleep most weeknights are significantly more likely to show a positive outlook toward school and other signs of “childhood flourishing,” but more than half of school age children in the U.S. do not get enough sleep during the week.
According to recent research by the American Academy of Pediatrics, only 48% of school age children get 9 hours of sleep most weeknights.
“Chronic sleep loss is a serious public health problem among children,” research author Dr. Hoi See Tsao said. “Insufficient sleep among adolescents, for example, is associated with physical and mental health consequences including increased risk of depression and obesity and negative effects on mood, attention and academic performance.”
According to Harvard Medical School, the recommended amount for sleep for infants is 12 to 16 hours (including naps); toddlers 11 to 14 hours (including naps); preschoolers 10 to 13 hours including naps); grade school-aged children nine to 12 hours; and teens eight to 10 hours.
Here are four ways to help make sure your children get enough sleep during the week, according to Harvard Medical School:
1. Make sleep a priority: Like scheduling time for homework, sports and other other activities, schedule time for sleep. Start from when your child needs to get up in the morning, then found back the number of hours your child needs to sleep. Set a non-negotiable bedtime.
2. Start the bedtime routine earlier: Give you kids time to wind down because it isn’t easy to go straight from a physically or mentally intense activity right to sleep. Give your child 30 minutes to an hour to wind down before their bedtime.
3. Turn off screens: Blue light from screens can wake up the brain and make it harder to fall asleep. Turn off an hour before you want your child to be asleep.
4. Keep the same sleep routines: Even on weekends and vacations, keep the same sleep routines. Changes in sleep routines can throw a child’s body “off.”