Sleep Hygiene

Sleep Hygiene
Posted on 08/09/2018
sleepArticle by Dr. Matthew Barcellona

The importance of regular sleep for our children and teens cannot be understated. While this importance is not always appreciated by our kids, the effects of poor sleep can certainly be felt by them. Sleep deprivation leads to moodiness, poor attention, fatigue, headache, more illness, and even injury. While a nutritious diet and regular exercise are a mainstay of health, it is during sleep that the body repairs, recharges, and grows!

School-aged kids require 9-12 hours of sleep each night and teens require 8-10 hours. For families struggling to get their children adequate sleep, these tips on sleep hygiene may be helpful.

Set a regular bedtime. Be sure you pick a bedtime that allows enough time to get the recommended amount of sleep. Remember, it may take 15-20 minutes for your child to fall asleep.

Develop a consistent bedtime routine. Having a familiar routine helps a child’s body and mind prepare for sleep. This may involve non-stimulating activities such as toothbrushing, putting on pajamas, reading a bedtime story, praying, or meditating.

Optimize the sleep environment. Be sure the room is sufficiently dark. If a night light is desired, be sure it is soft ambient light. A quiet sleep space is ideal and white noise may be very helpful; background sounds from a floor fan, noise machine, or a bubbling fish tank can be soothing and drown out inevitable undesirable noises that occur during the night. Also, keep the room a cool temperature.

Turn off all electronics: cell phones, computers, and tablets. Studies have shown that electronic screens stimulate the brain and reduce sleep. All screens should be off and INACCESSIBLE to children and teens within one hour before bedtime. Merely the thought of video games and social media can delay sleeping and in some cases keep kids awake for hours.

Avoid caffeine. While a small snack before bed is okay, avoid caffeine and chocolate that can cause a delay in falling asleep.

R-E-L-A-X. Easier said than done. Deep breathing, journaling, listening to soft music, and meditating can be very helpful to slow down the mind and bring forth the Z’s.

Note: Kids who exercise regularly also tend to sleep better. Having 30-60 minutes of cardiovascular exercise each day will increase a child’s need for sleep and often improve overall health and sleep quality.

If your child continues to experience sleep difficulty or daytime sleepiness despite employing good sleep hygiene, then please make an appointment with one of our providers to evaluate your child for any underlying concerns.

Sweet Dreams!

North Scottsdale Pediatrics

  • Ironwood Office - 9827 N. 95th St. Suite 105, Scottsdale, AZ 85258 Phone: (480) 860-8488 Fax: (480) 860-8498
  • Deer Valley Office - 21807 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85255 Phone: (480) 860-8488 Fax: (480) 860-8498

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