Why children and teenagers need quality sleep - and how to help

Why children and teenagers need quality sleep - and how to help

It's not a particularly easy time for anyone right now, least of all those with young (and older) children who need a balance of physical activity and quality sleep to help them grow and maintain their general health. 

Add to this the pressure for many of a new school term spent at home learning online and quality sleep (for both children and parents) being even more essential than normal. 

Kids are feeling the pressure, and regular sleep patterns will be falling by the wayside for many. 

Experts are sounding the alarm on kids and sleep, calling sleep deprivation among kids a growing concern as they are compelled to spend more time online learning and less time outside in the fresh air. 

Adults need sleep to maintain their general health, but kids need it to grow and develops appropriately. Behavioural and health problems in kids with sleep disorders abound, so parents of children with these issues should take care to to keep an eye on their children’s sleep schedules.

Always keep a trusted healthcare professional in the loop when it comes to your kids’ sleep habits—there are few things as important for their well-being.

Teaching your child healthy sleep habits will not only serve as a boon to their happiness and well-being during childhood, but help set them up for a healthy adulthood.

As any parent will tell you, kids who sleep through the night make for happier, better-rested adults! If you’re concerned about your child’s sleep habits, have a read of the handy tips below.

Why does a child need to sleep?

Sleep is crucial for growth and development, making inadequate sleep even more immediately dangerous for children than adults. Children who don’t sleep enough may experience behavioural problems, stunted growth, an increased likelihood of illness and injury, and cognitive difficulties. Keeping kids on a regular sleep schedule is a good way to help them get enough rest.

How many hours of sleep do children need?

On average, toddlers between 1 and 2 need 11 to 14 hours of sleep, preschoolers from 3 to 5 need 10 to 13 hours, school-aged children between 6 and 13 need 9 to 11 hours, and teenagers need 7 to 11 hours. If you think your child isn’t getting enough sleep, be sure to consult a trusted paediatrician—sleep is incredibly important for growth and development.

What can I use to help my child sleep? 

Never use sleep aids for children without consulting with a healthcare professional. Keeping kids active during the day is a good way to ensure that they fall asleep easily, but if you suspect that your child may have a sleep disorder, promptly consult a doctor for advice. A few simple lifestyle adjustments may be all it takes.

What age do children stop napping?

There’s no hard and fast rule here—many children stop napping between 3 and 4, but some children need to nap for one or two years more. If your toddler doesn’t seem tired when it’s time to nap, naps but isn’t tired at bedtime, or can skip naps without showing any negative signs, it may be a sign that they’re ready to stop napping.  

How can kids get to sleep faster?

Kids who have trouble getting to sleep quickly may not be getting enough physical activity or natural light exposure during the day. Make sure your kids are on a regular sleep schedule and have a relaxing bedroom environment. If all else fails, be on the lookout for sleep disorders and consult a paediatrician to rule out any underlying health problems.

Do 3 year olds need naps?

Your 3 year old may or may not need a nap. Some kids stop napping at 2 and a half, while others need an afternoon siesta all the way to 4 years old, or even longer. Consider whether your toddler is tired at naptime, or shows any negative signs when they skip their nap. Most importantly, make sure your 3 year old is getting the recommended 10 to 13 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period.

When should a 3 year old go to bed?

To get the recommended 10 to 13 hours of sleep a night, an average 3-year old should go to bed between 7 and 9pm, depending on when they need to be up the following day. Remember that once your child drops their afternoon nap, which tends to happen around age 3, they’ll need an extra hour of sleep at night, so be sure to adjust accordingly.  

What time should a 5 year old go to bed? 

At 5 years old, children typically need between 10 and 13 hours of sleep and should go to bed between 7 and 9pm to get up in time for school or home learning.  At this age, it’s very important to keep kids on a regular bedtime routine and establish good bedtime habits, like reading and minimal screen time. Teaching kids good sleep habits will help set them up for a healthy lifestyle.

Does the right mattress matter for young children and young adults? 

The right mattress is equally important for children and adults. Young adults with bodies and minds that are still growing need optimum sleep just as much as young children do. Speak with one of our qualified sleep consultants who will be able to help you choose the best mattress for your growing teen so that you can help them optimise the quality of their sleep and help them get through these difficult days a little easier. 

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