Why is Sleep important?
Sleep is just as important as food, shelter and safety.
It allows the brain to recharge and the body to regenerate.
Healthy sleep allows people to function at optimal alertness.
Healthy sleep requires:
- Sufficient amount (time)
- Uninterrupted (quality)
- Natural sleep cycle (circadian rhythm)
- Age-appropriate naps
Children need sleep to be able to:
- Remember what they learn
- Pay attention and concentrate
- Solve problems and think of new ideas
- Grow muscle, bones and skin
- Repair damage and injuries
- Fight sickness
For Children – different ages need different amounts:
- Babies – 12-15 hours throughout the day and night
- Toddlers – 11-14 hours/day
- Young children – 10-13 hours/day
- Older children – 9-11 hours/day
How to promote healthy sleeping habits in my child?
- You will need to be consistent bedtime routine (bath, teeth, story, cuddle for whatever works for you family)
- Consistent wake up time for children with enough time to ‘wake up’ before placing demands (getting ready for school)
- Ensure that there is a consistent bed time
- Enough physical activity and outside time during the day
- Reduced screen time before bed (usually no screens within 2 hours of the bed time routine starting)
- Enough fruit, veggies and water throughout the day
- Dark and cosy room and space that promotes sleep and staying sleep
- Modelling the importance of sleep as a family, ensuring that you too are following some/all of these suggestions shows kids the importance that Mums, Dads and Caregivers put on sleep too!
If your child is having difficulty sleeping, a Psychologist or Occupational Therapist may be able to help.