My Child Has Trouble Sleeping, What Now?

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is the quality of your time together that is most important. Sleep is critical for developing infants and children, and sacrificing sleep is like cutting down on other important needs such as food.

How much sleep do my 10- and 15-year-olds need?

Ten-year-olds need about 10 hours of sleep per night, and contrary to popular belief, teens do not need much less. The recommended amount of sleep for adolescents is just over 9 hours. This is easier said than done, as a combination of biological and social factors makes it difficult for teens to get to bed on the early side. Keeping a consistent sleep schedule on weekdays and weekends can help (in other words, no sleeping in until 2:00 pm on weekends).

What strategies might help in getting my child to settle down for bed?

A consistent sleep schedule and bedtime routine are absolutely essential. Children generally have a "window" when they are most likely to fall asleep and once that window has passed, it can seem like they have boundless energy. Deciding on a bedtime and sticking to it will help. A regular routine will signal your child's brain that it is time for sleep. A good routine is one that is the same every night, is short, and involves activities that your child likes. For an infant this might be a bath, baby massage, and a song. For a toddler, this could be a bath, a book, a drink of water, and a goodnight kiss. The routine should all go in one direction - toward the bedroom.

Is it normal for kids to snore?

Three to 12 percent of children snore and 1 to 12 percent have a sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), where the airway may be fully or partially blocked during the night, causing difficulty breathing during sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that all children who snore have an overnight sleep study (polysomnography) to determine if they have OSA.

What kinds of sleep problems and symptoms should I discuss with my pediatrician?

A pediatrician can provide advice (or a referral