How Parents Can Help Their Children Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Especially with new school schedules it is important to help students understand the value of enough sleep.

Children who get more sleep get better grades in school, and sleep-deprived high school students have more auto accidents.

Elementary school children should get around eleven hours of sleep, middle school students ten hours, and nine hours is an average requirement for high school students.

If children are staying up too late, bedtime should be set fifteen minutes earlier each night until the proper time is reached to get enough sleep. Fifteen to thirty minutes of quiet time before bedtime is helpful (no TV, video games, phone calls or exercise). Caffeine should be avoided for about eight hours before bedtime.

Staying up late on weekends and sleeping late shifts our biological clock so that it is difficult to go back to a desirable schedule on Sunday night. Sleeping in on weekends one to 2 hours, however, is usually not a problem.

It is also beneficial to be a good sleep role model for our children.  The average adult needs eight hours and fifteen minutes of sleep. Good sleep habits and consistent schedules help set a good example.

Stephen Rasmus, MD

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