Getting the proper amount of sleep plays a major role in your child’s performance in school, as well as their entire well-being. Not only does sleep help recharge your body and mind, but it contributes to healthy physical and mental development in children. The amount of sleep a child needs depends of their age:
- Infants and Toddlers (up to age 3): 11-15 hours of sleep a night
- Preschool Age Children (ages 3-4): 10-13 hours of sleep a night
- School Age Children (ages 5-18): 10-11 hours of sleep a night
On average, children between the ages of five and twelve only sleep for 9.5 hours a night, less than what is recommended. Children and adolescents that don’t get enough sleep may experience drowsiness, hyperactivity, difficulty concentrating, decreased physical development and growth, increased stress, impulsive behavior and mood swings. Overall, a lack of sleep leads to an increase in the incidence of obesity and illness, but with increased extracurricular activities, after school jobs and more demanding course loads, maintaining healthy sleep routines can often be difficult.
To ensure a good night’s sleep for school-age children, parents should maintain a set bedtime and create a ‘getting-ready-for-bed’ routine. This would involve turning off the television, video games, tablets and any other stimulating activity, and beginning to bathe, brush teeth, change into pajamas and other bedtime preparations. Activities such as reading a book or listening to soothing music or sounds, may also help kids ‘wind-down’ before bed. Kids who are unable to get into a healthy sleep routine, may be suffering from an actual sleep disorder. If your child is consistently displaying symptoms of a potential sleep problem, talk to your primary care physician about getting referred for a sleep study.
Annie Penn Sleep Disorders Center and Cone Health Sleep Disorders Center (next to Wesley Long Hospital) both offer pediatric sleep studies for children 5 years of age and older. Leading the studies is an exceptional team of a board-certified sleep medicine specialist, sleep technologists and respiratory therapists and state-of-the art sleep monitoring equipment.
Ricardo Davis is a registered polysomnographic technologist at Cone Health Sleep Disorders Center. He also earned his clinical sleep educator certification by the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (BRPT) in May 2012. In addition, Ricardo is currently a candidate for a bachelor of science degree from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.