The Importance of Sleep in Children

According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-third of children (4 months- 17 years) living in the United States, get less sleep than what is recommended for their ages.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends:

• Infants 4 months to 12 months should sleep 12 to 16 hours per 24 hours

• Children 1 to 2 years of age should sleep 11 to 14 hours per 24 hours

• Children 3 to 5 years of age should sleep 10 to 13 hours per 24 hours

• Children 6 to 12 years of age should sleep 9 to 12 hours per 24 hours

• Teenagers 13 to 18 years of age should sleep 8 to 10 hours per 24 hours

A lack of sleep can affect children in several ways. Children who do not receive adequate sleep are at a higher risk for developing health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, poor mental health, and obesity.  Sleep deprivation can also contribute to the development of behavioral or academic problems.

There are several ways parents can help children achieve a good night’s sleep. This includes:

  • Turning off devices at least an hour before bedtime
  • Ensuring beds are comfortable
  • Creating a consistent bedtime routine (changing into pajamas, brushing teeth, etc.)
  • Establishing and keeping a consistent sleep schedule (This includes weekends and vacations)
  • Keeping children from going to bed hungry or too full
  • Avoiding scary movies, books or television shows before bed
  • Helping to alleviate bedtime fears or anxieties by talking about them and providing comfort

It is important that children receive adequate sleep as it is beneficial for their overall health and development. If your child is consistently having problems falling or staying asleep despite practicing healthy sleep hygiene, you should consult a doctor.

To schedule an appointment with a sleep specialist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-5916.