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?
|Age||Duration (per 24 hours)|
|4-12 months||12 to 16 hours of sleep (including naps)|
|1-2 years||11 to 14 hours (including naps)|
|3-5 years||10 to 13 hours (including naps)|
|6-12 years||9-12 hours|
|13 -18 years||8-10 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.