Over the past decade, children have been going to bed later and sleeping less. This can be attributed, in part, to a lack of awareness in the community concerning sleep need in children and how the amount of sleep a child should get each night is dependent on one’s age.
"Children sleep less than they did 20 years ago and substantially less than 50 years ago. We know sleep is important for health and learning, but the importance of sleep and how to maintain healthy sleep habits has disappeared from our consciousness," said Lushington. "We teach our children about diet, exercise, drugs and much else about health, but little about the importance of a health-related behavior that takes up one-third or more of our children’s lives, namely, sleep."
"Children are great advocates for healthy living. If they are taught the importance of sleep, and the parents are included as well, they will make the changes for themselves."
Experts recommend that children in pre-school sleep between 11-13 hours a night, and school-aged children between 10-11 hours of sleep a night.
Your child should follow these steps to get a good night’s sleep:
Follow a consistent bedtime routine.
Establish a relaxing setting at bedtime.
Get a full night’s sleep every night.
Avoid foods or drinks that contain caffeine, as well as any medicine that has a stimulant, prior to bedtime.
Do not go to bed hungry, but don’t eat a big meal before bedtime either.
The bedroom should be quiet, dark and a little bit cool.
Get up at the same time every morning.
Parents who suspect that their child might be suffering from a sleep disorder are encouraged to consult with their child’s pediatrician, who will refer them to a sleep specialist.