National Sleep Awareness Month is an annual event held in March to promote the importance of healthy sleep habits. While sleep is vital for people of all ages, it is even more critical for children, as their physical and mental development relies heavily on quality sleep. As a result, parents must prioritize their children’s sleep and ensure they get the proper amount each night.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, preschoolers (3-5 years old) require 10-13 hours of sleep per night, while school-aged children (6-13 years old) need 9-11 hours of sleep each night. Unfortunately, many children in the United States do not get the recommended amount of sleep. A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that nearly 70% of children in the US have a sleep problem at least once a week.
Lack of sleep can lead to difficulty concentrating in school, behavioral problems, and obesity. Fortunately, there are several steps parents can
take to promote healthy sleep habits in their children.
Establish a Consistent Sleep Routine
To accomplish this, set a regular bedtime and wake-up time for children, even on weekends. A consistent sleep routine can help regulate the body’s internal clock and improve sleep quality.
Create a Relaxing Sleep Environment
Consider limiting screen time before bed, as the blue light emitted by electronic devices can interfere with the body’s natural sleep cycle. Additionally, ensure the bedroom is cool, dark and quiet to promote optimal sleep conditions for children.
Encouraging Physical Activity During the Day
Encouraging physical activity for children during the day can also promote healthy sleep habits. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children engage in at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily. Physical activity improves sleep quality as it promotes overall health and well-being.
Model Healthy Sleep Habits
Children learn by example, so if parents prioritize their sleep, their children are more likely to do the same. Parents ages 18+ should receive between 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
National Sleep Awareness Month serves as a reminder of the critical role that sleep plays in children’s physical and mental development. Parents can ensure their children receive the proper amount of sleep each night by establishing consistent sleep routines, creating a relaxing sleep environment, promoting physical activity, and modeling healthysleep habits. Doing so can improve academic performance, reduce behavioral problems, and promote overall health and well-being for children. If concerns ever arise, parents should seek advice from a local doctor.