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Blog Importance of Sleep for Kids & Bedtime Routines For Enough Sleep

Importance of Sleep for Kids & Bedtime Routines For Enough Sleep

Children's Bedtime Concerns & How Much Sleep Your Child Needs

Sleep is not just for resting; for children, sleep is a necessity for their growth, learning, and overall health. In this article, we’ll delve deeper into the many facets of sleep for children, emphasizing its significance, recommended sleep durations according to age, the impacts of insufficient sleep, and strategies to enhance sleep quality.

Child sleeping with a plushie and tucked into bed with Evercool Kids Cooling Comforter and pillowcase in animal friends design

Why Is Sleep Important for Children?

Sleep does more for children than simply avoiding crankiness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adequate sleep is essential for a child's development, impacting everything from their mental health to their physical well-being. Sleep can also help prevent health concerns such as type-2 diabetes, obesity, injuries and attention or behaviour problems that may cause poor academic performance in school.

During sleep, critical processes occur, including the consolidation of memories, the processing of information, and the release of hormones that regulate growth and appetite. Sleep's importance for children encompasses a wide range of benefits, from cognitive and physical development to emotional well-being.

One study found child sleep deficiency and other sleep problems caused physical, neurocognitive, emotional and behavioral consequences. Sleep affects various aspects of a child's life and is as vital as nutrition, underscoring how good sleep is foundational for healthy development.

Age-Appropriate Duration of Sleep for Children

Identifying the right amount of sleep for children is pivotal. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommended sleep hours for children of different ages to be:

  • Infant: 4 to 12 months should sleep 12-16 hours per 24 hours (including naps)
  • Toddlers: 1 to 2 year olds should sleep 11-14 hours per 24 hours (including naps)
  • Preschoolers: 3 to 5 year olds should sleep 10-13 hours per 24 hours (including naps)
  • School-age children: 6 to 12 year olds should sleep 9-12 hours per night
  • Teenagers: 13 to 18 year olds should sleep 8-10 hours per night

Not adhering to these guidelines can adversely affect a child's health and daily functioning, underlining the necessity for parents to ensure their children get sufficient sleep according to these recommendations based on age.

Toddler playing, with the Evercool Kids Cooling Comforter in polar bear design draped over their shoulder

Why Do Adults Need Less Sleep Than Children?

The sleep needs of adults are generally lower than those of children due to differences in physiological demands and the completion of major developmental stages. Across our different life stages, as the body ages, the requirement for sleep to support growth and development decreases.

What Happens When a Child Doesn’t Sleep Enough?

As adults, sleep is necessary for memory consolidation, mood regulation and general well-being. In children, the benefits (and risks from lack of sleep) are amplified as sleep is critical for healthy cognitive, behavioral and physical function and development. Over time, these issues can lead to more severe outcomes, such as academic difficulties and health concerns. The American Psychological Association discusses the psychological effects of sleep deprivation, noting the increased risk for mental health issues among children not getting enough sleep.

Can Lack of Sleep Stunt Growth?

Yes and no. The connection between sleep and growth is well-documented, with sleep being a prime time for the body to produce human growth hormone (hGH), which helps people grow taller. That said, studies have been inconclusive for whether a person’s adult height is impacted by lack of sleep. As Sleep Foundation highlights, height is not exclusively determined by sleep but rather a “complex interplay between a person’s genetics, nutrition, and the environment in which they live.”

Though lack of sleep does not directly stunt height, lifestyle influences such as nutrition and proper rest can still affect growth. Chronic sleep deprivation may potentially impact a child's growth and highlights the physiological necessity of sleep for normal development across all metrics.

Best Time for Bed on a School Night

Determining an appropriate bedtime on school nights depends on your child's age and their required wake-up time. The goal is to ensure they receive the full amount of recommended sleep.

  • 6 to 12 year olds should sleep 9-12 hours per night
  • 13 to 18 year olds should sleep 8-10 hours per night

For example, if a school-aged child needs to wake up by 7 AM and requires approximately 10 hours of sleep, then a bedtime around 9 PM is advisable. This scheduling supports the child's natural circadian rhythms and can positively impact their morning alertness and overall daily performance.

Child making their bed with the Evercool Kids Cooling Comforter and pillowcases in animal friends

What Time Should Children Sleep on Weekends?

To prevent disruptions in the body's internal clock, keeping a consistent sleep schedule even on weekends are advisable. This approach helps stabilize your child's circadian rhythm, ensuring better sleep quality and easier wake-ups on school days.

How to Help Kids Get Better Sleep?

Parents can significantly influence their children's sleep quality by establishing and maintaining healthy sleep routines. Practical tips for improving sleep include:

  • Keep the same bedtime and wake-up time each day, even on weekends
  • Maintain a dark, cool and quiet sleep environment
  • Limit sleep disruptors like caffeinated and sugary foods or drinks in the evening
  • Take a warm bath or shower 1 to 2 hours before bedtime
  • Turn off / keep electronics and devices away at least an hour before bedtime
  • Encourage relaxation techniques
  • Communicate and educate children of the importance of sleep

Establishing a consistent bedtime routine is fundamental. Bedtime routines help signal to children it’s time to sleep and could include calming activities such as reading or bathing and strictly limiting screen times to avoid blue light exposure. Additionally, ensuring physical activity during the day can help children fall asleep more easily at night.

Creating a conducive environment that optimizes sleep is also integral, especially with one study crediting thermal environments as one of the most important factors that can affect human sleep. In the context of sleep, thermal environments can include the temperature of the bedroom as well as sleep spaces such as mattress and bedding. The body's core temperature naturally decreases as part of the sleep initiation process, and maintaining an environment that supports this natural drop is crucial. By lowering the thermostat and utilizing cooling bedding like Evercool® Kids Cooling Comforter can help facilitate and create a sleeping environment that allows children to fall asleep faster and reduce night time awakenings. 

Evercool Kids Cooling Comforter for hot sleepers in polar bear design
Evercool Kids Cooling Comforter for hot sleepers in animal friends design

How to Change Children’s Sleep Schedules

Adjusting a child's sleep schedule should be a gradual process. Incorporating new bedtime routines and strategies for resetting sleep cycles is recommended through incremental adjustments and consistency. By making small, consistent changes to bedtime and wake time, you can help shift your child's sleep schedule without causing significant disruption or stress.

Understanding and prioritizing sleep in children's lives is a critical component of their overall health and development. By fostering healthy sleep habits through a consistent routine, a conducive sleep environment, and mindful attention to potential sleep disturbances, parents can significantly contribute to their children's physical, mental and emotional well-being. Remember, the goal is not just more sleep, but better quality sleep that supports a child's growth, learning, and health in every way possible.

#TheRestIsMagic

Hours of Sleep By Age FAQ: How Many Hours of Sleep does my Child Need?

Identifying the right amount of sleep for children is pivotal. Find out how much sleep your child needs. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommended the following sleep hours for children of different ages:

    How many hours of sleep do infants need?

    • Infants aged 4 to 12 months should sleep 12-16 hours per 24 hours (including naps)

    How many hours of sleep for 1 year olds?

    • 1 year olds should sleep 11-14 hours per 24 hours (including naps)

    How many hours of sleep for 2 year olds?

    • 2 year olds should sleep 11-14 hours per 24 hours (including naps)

    How many hours of sleep for 3 year olds?

    • 3 year olds should sleep 10-13 hours per 24 hours (including naps)

    How many hours of sleep for 4 year olds?

    • 4 year olds should sleep 10-13 hours per 24 hours (including naps)

    How many hours of sleep for 5 year olds?

    • 5 year olds should sleep 10-13 hours per 24 hours (including naps)

    How many hours of sleep for 6 year olds?

    • 6 year olds should sleep 9-12 hours per night

    How many hours of sleep for 7 year olds?

    • 7 year olds should sleep 9-12 hours per night

    How many hours of sleep for 8 year olds?

    • 8 year olds should sleep 9-12 hours per night

    How many hours of sleep for 9 year olds?

    • 9 year olds should sleep 9-12 hours per night

    How many hours of sleep for 10 year olds?

    • 10 year olds should sleep 9-12 hours per night

    How many hours of sleep for 11 year olds?

    • 11 year olds should sleep 9-12 hours per night

    How many hours of sleep for 12 year olds?

    • 12 year olds should sleep 9-12 hours per night

    How many hours of sleep for 13 year olds?

    • 13 year olds should sleep 8-10 hours per night
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