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Child-friendly Sleep Tips

Child-friendly Sleep Tips

An estimated 25-percent of American children and teens have some type of sleep problem. Sleep deprivation in children can not only affect behavior, but also hinder mental and physical development. The St. Mary Pediatric Sleep Center carefully diagnosis and cares for children age 1 and over who may have a sleep disorder.

 Common Childhood Sleep Disorders

 Attention Deficit Hyperactivity  Sleep Terrors
 Bedtime Struggles and night waking  Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
 Grinding of teeth  Apnea

 If your child has trouble sleeping consider these child-friendly sleep tips


NEWBORNS

  • Observe baby's sleep patterns and identify signs of sleepiness.
  • Put baby in the crib when drowsy, not asleep.
  • Place baby to sleep on his/her back with face and head clear of blankets and other soft items.
  • Encourage nighttime sleep.


INFANTS

  • Develop regular daytime and bedtime schedules.
  • Create a consistent and enjoyable bedtime routine.
  • Establish a regular "sleep friendly" environment.
  • Encourage baby to fall asleep independently and to become a "self-soother."


TODDLERS (AGES 1 TO 3)

  • Maintain a daily sleep schedule and consistent bedtime routine.
  • Make the bedroom environment the same every night and throughout the night.
  • Set limits that are consistent, communicated and enforced. Encourage use of a security object such as a blanket or stuffed animal.


PRESCHOOLERS (3 TO 5)

  • Maintain a regular and consistent sleep schedule.
  • Have a relaxing bedtime routine that ends in the room where the child sleeps.
  • Child should sleep in the same sleeping environment every night, in a room that is cool, quiet and dark - and without a TV.


SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN (5 TO 12)

  • Teach school-age children about healthy sleep habits.
  • Continue to emphasize need for regular and consistent sleep schedule and bedtime routine.
  • Make child's bedroom conducive to sleep - dark, cool and quiet.
  • Keep TV and computers out of the bedroom.
  • Avoid caffeine.


TEENAGERS

  • Naps can help pick them up and make them work more efficiently, if they are planned right. Naps that are too long or too close to bedtime can interfere with regular sleep.
  • Make the room a sleep haven. Keep it cool, quiet and dark. If necessary, get eyeshades or blackout curtains. Let in bright light in the morning to signal the body to wake up.
  • Establish a bed and wake time and stick to it, coming as close as possible on the weekends. A consistent sleep schedule will help them feel less tired since it allows the body to get in sync with its natural patterns. They will find that it's easier to fall asleep at bedtime with this type of routine.
  • Don't eat, drink or exercise within a few hours of bedtime. Don't leave homework for the last minute. Try to avoid the TV, computer and telephone in the hour before bedtime. If they stick to quiet, calm activities, they'll fall asleep much more easily.
  • If they do the same things every night before they go to sleep, they teach their body the signals that it's time for bed. Try taking a bath or shower (this will leave extra time in the morning) or reading a book.
  • Try keeping a diary or to-do lists. If they jot notes down before they go to sleep, they'll be less likely to stay awake worrying or stressing.


Source: National Sleep Foundation