Sleep Hygiene

Sleep Hygiene

Sleep is an integral part of children’s health. Amazing things happen while they sleep, including bursts in physical growth and solidification of learning. Studies show that a good night’s sleep helps buoy moods, improve cognitive performance, and build the body’s resilience against illness and accidents. Problems with sleep are parts of major mental illnesses, including mood disorders. Some scientists suggest that depression is linked to prolonged REM sleep. There is also a growing body of evidence suggesting that ADHD may stem from “a sleepy brain.” Specialists have said that as many as 40% of children who meet the diagnostic criteria for ADHD also meet criteria for a sleep disorder.

An article from the Wall Street Journal reviews findings that link sleep problems with depression, anxiety, substance abuse, aggression, learning problems, and obesity.

Good sleep hygiene is a must. It is also the first place to start when you notice patterns of childhood misbehavior or under-performance. Sleep hygiene includes:

  1. Routine: Regular, predictable soothing activities cue the brain that sleep is on the way. Reading, baths, relaxing music, calm activities, low lights, soft pajamas—integrate these into a pattern for your child. Start 1 hour before sleep is to begin.
  2. Children need more than 8 hours of sleep per night. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends the following sleep guidelines:
    • Infants: 14 to 15 hours
    • Toddlers: 12 to 14 hours
    • Preschoolers: 11 to 13 hours
    • School-age kids: 10 to 11 hours
    • Teenagers: 9 to 10 hours
  3. Turn off electronic media 2 hours before bed. Studies show that children with TVs and video games in their rooms get less sleep. Cell phones (including texts, email, games, and other apps) can also rob many teenagers of a good night’s sleep.


4 replies
  1. David
    David says:

    Great article! I can really see a difference in my child when he doesn’t get enough sleep. Did not know sleep was linked to ADHD…very informative!


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] From ages 0-2: Read to your child. Often. Talk to him, using direct and sustained eye contact. Turn off the TV. Don’t buy the “education-based” video games. Love and praise your child. Play music you like for her (it does not have to be classical music). Explain everyday things to him. (Tell her why orange juice can sting a cut on a lip. Tell him why a hot stove must not be touched.) Praise your young scientist for repeating things over and over. Play peek-a-boo and hide-and-seek. Enforce a healthy diet, and try for organic foods if possible. Use routine, with predictable consequences for behavior. Introduce math concepts. Sing the ABCs. Make sure your baby gets enough sleep. […]

  2. […] children two years old or younger. Young children who watch TV have higher chances of developing sleep problems and speech delays. Beyond the speed of the frames (which seem to train young brains to attend only […]

  3. […] primary cause of hyperactivity. An ADHD diagnosis proposes that ADHD problems do not stem from an untreated sleep disorder. The problem with the current ways in which children get diagnosed is that many (competent and […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *