Do you know how much sleep we really need? What about how much sleep your child needs? Sleep needs vary with age, but generally speaking, young children need around 11 to 12 hours each night, teens need between 8.5 and 9.25 hours and the average adult needs only between seven and nine hours per night. Of course, getting your child to enjoy the recommended hours of sleep each evening is often difficult.
Our expert, Dr. Jodi Mindell, tells us how your children can get more sleep.
Many children are going to bed too late to enjoy a full night’s rest. Research shows that children who go to bed after 9:00 p.m. take longer to fall asleep, wake more often at night and get less overall sleep. Parents should be aware of how much sleep their child needs and establish an appropriate bedtime.
Often parents do not set clear rules surrounding sleep and bedtime.
That is a very good question! We have to consider that kids do not want to miss out on anything. They also tend to perceive sleep as a chore rather than the luxury that it is.
Yes, this is true. We often call that second peak the “forbidden zone.” It typically occurs in the evening. Parents often perceive that their child is not tired when they reach this peak. Instead their child may be overtired. Setting bedtimes before this peak is best.
A common misconception is that children need less sleep than they actually do. Many children are not getting the sleep they need, and it is our job as parents to make sure that children receive not only the quantity of sleep that they require, but quality sleep as well.
Another misconception is that sleep is hard to change. A few simple changes can make a huge difference in how well a child sleeps. These changes include going to bed early, having a consistent bedtime routine, avoiding all caffeine, and helping set theideal bedroom environment for your child.
Dr. Mindell is Professor of Psychology at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and is a clinical psychologist specializing in pediatric sleep medicine.