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How many sleeping hours do our kids need?

Between homework, after-school activities and many other things that are in your schedule, it can be tough to get enough sleeping hours for your kids. Once your child reaches school age, sleep needs may change, but it’s important to know how much sleep they are getting and what they really need.

With hectic school schedules, kids’ sleep habits play a key role in their overall health.

How much sleep is necessary for children:

  • Preschool children should sleep 10-13 hours
  • Elementary school kids should sleep 9-12 hours
  • Teens and older should get 8-9 hours of sleep

Signs your child needs better sleep

Getting enough sleep can have a big impact on your kids’ daily lives and school performance, according to our Sleep Medicine specialists. And, for parents, it can mean happier, more attentive kids.

Benefits of good scheduled sleep routines include:

  • Better concentration.
  • Better memory.
  • Better school performance.
  • Better overall mood.

If you notice your child is struggling to wake in the morning, having issues at school or overall, in a negative mood, you could check on how they are sleeping at night. 

How to help your child’s sleep 

No matter your schedule for the day, when it comes to bedtime, you want to establish a scheduled routine for everyone, said Dr. Christoper Ordonez, pediatrician with Marshfield Clinic Health System.  This can be as simple as brush teeth, dimmed lights, change to pajamas and read a book or have a quick conversation about your day.

“Nighttime routines don’t only help your child. You also would benefit from having that regimen to get into the groove for sleep,” Dr. Ordonez said. “I have noticed great success when scheduled routines are used by families of patients I care for.”

Additionally, it’s important to set bedtimes and waketimes for every day.

“Many people like to take the weekends to sleep in, but it’s actually beneficial to keep the same scheduled time to help your circadian rhythm stay consistent,” Dr. Ordonez said.

Find times and a schedule that works for you and your family. When children are older in their teens or adolescent years, they will need less sleep at night. This is when you can extend their bedtime to a later time.

For better sleep, you also want to make sure to AVOID:

  • Television or screen time (cellphone/tablets) an hour before bed.
  • Exercise at least 2 hours before bedtime.
  • Late-day food or drinks with caffeine like chocolate, coffee or some teas.
  • Toys in their bed as a distraction.

This chart explains how many hours your child should be sleeping and some handy tips to get them (and you) to sleep:

How many hours of sleep kids need? Shine365

If your child is struggling to sleep, talk to a Marshfield Children’s provider.

Schedule appointment Message your child’s provider

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