Sleep is not a luxury. It is a necessity. It is vital for long term health and well-being.

It is as crucial as nutritious food and physical activity.

Yet in an effort to get things done many children who are juggling with academics, sports, extra- curricular activities and media usage, push down sleep lower in their list of priorities.

What are the benefits of sleep?

Apart from the obvious benefits of feeling refreshed and energetic,

  • Improved learning and memory
  • Better focus, recall and problem solving ability
  • Improved immunity
  • Prevents weight gain
  • Improved mood and behavior
  • Decreased risk of self-harm and suicidal thoughts in teens.
  • Keeps us alert and safe by preventing accidents at home, work or on the road.
  • Decreases our risk for Type 2 diabetes mellitus, obesity, heart disease, stroke and hypertension.

We need to emphasize and reiterate the importance of sleep to children. Because good sleep habits established in childhood can make a big difference to health – lifelong.

How can we help children sleep better?

  • Establish a bed time routine and stick to it.
  • Try to stick to same bed-time and wake up time every day.
  • Switch off all screens and gadgets half an hour before bed time
  • Ensure the room is dark (or dimly lit) and quiet.
  • Be a role model and get sufficient good quality sleep

How much sleep do children need (per 24 hours) on a regular basis?

AgeDuration (per 24 hours)
4-12 months12 to 16 hours of sleep (including naps)
1-2 years11 to 14 hours (including naps)
3-5 years10 to 13 hours (including naps)
6-12 years9-12 hours
13 -18 years8-10 hours


Recommended by American Academy of Sleep Medicine in June 2016 and endorsed by American Academy of Pediatrics, the Sleep Research Society, and the American Association of Sleep Technologists.