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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Vannoy, APRN-CNP

Sleep and Your Child

School-aged children require between 10 and 11 hours of sleep per night. Unfortunately, not getting enough sleep is common in this age group, given increasing school obligations, evening activities, and later bedtimes.

Kids who don't get enough sleep may be cranky, moody, or hyper and have trouble learning and paying attention in school.

Some signs your child isn't getting enough sleep:

  • Overly emotional (explosive temper tantrums, easily hurt feelings, no patience)

  • Difficult to wake in the morning

  • Difficulty concentrating or focusing during play

  • Taking long naps

  • Hyperactivity

  • Defiant or contrary behavior

  • Difficulty falling asleep (overtired)

  • Falling asleep as soon as they hit the pillow (sleep should take about 20 minutes for a healthy sleeper)

  • Increased appetite

  • Accident prone or clumsy

  • Excessive talking (more questions than normal or frenzied conversation)

How can you help your child get better sleep?

  1. It is essential to have a consistent bedtime. Create a relaxing routine, including taking a bath, brushing teeth, and quiet activities like reading a book.

  2. Turn off all screens at a minimum of one hour before bedtime. Keep all electronics out of the bedroom.

  3. Decide when your child needs to get up for school in the morning and count back 9–12 hours from there. That is when they should go to bed.

  4. On weekends, try to stick to the weekday sleep schedule, aiming for sleep or wake-up times no more than an hour later.

  5. Keep the bedroom dark, calm, and quiet.

  6. Don't give your child foods or drinks with caffeine, especially in the late afternoon or evening.

  7. Make sure your child gets plenty of exercise during the day. This can help kids sleep better at night.

Michelle Vannoy, APRN-CNP

Ryan Family Care

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