So what specific sleeping habits would benefit children and teenagers directly? At this age, sleep is more important than adults and even babies. Between the ages of 5 and 18 is the time where people grow and change the most, and this can only happen if they are given optimum sleeping conditions.
Children between 5 and 11 should be getting roughly 10 to 12 hours of sleep a night. At this age, they are also more likely not to want to go to bed at their “bedtime”, it’s extremely important that you enforce the rules. Not only does this help them understand the importance of sleeping at the right time, but also ensures they get the right amount of sleep so they are fully refreshed the next day. This may be hard if they find it difficult to fit all the extra activities such as homework or school clubs in the day, in which case their bedtimes can be extended a little bit but not too much.
Making sure they don’t have anything in their rooms that could distract them from sleeping is also important. Things such as TVs or computers should be prohibited during bed time. It is at bedtime that they get to sleep with the lights fully off as there are studies suggesting it is more beneficial in complete darkness.
At this age, more emphasis should be placed on teaching them why resting is important. For them to go to bed without resistance, you must let them know that sleeping at the right time and other sleeping habits is good for them.
So as a summary of good sleeping habits in children:
- On average they should sleep 11 hours every night.
- Regular sleeping and waking times every day.
- Reduce the chance of anything in their rooms distracting them during the night when they should be sleeping such as televisions and computers.
- Sleeping with the lights off.
Puberty is when the most growth is observed mentally and physically so sleeping habits in teenagers is the most important out of all ages. If they get their sleeping habits right at this age, they are much more likely to stick with it for the rest of their lives which would benefit them majorly in terms of health. Another reason why getting the right amount of sleep is important is that growth hormones are scientifically proven to be released by the body during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep
The optimal time that teenagers (age 13-19) should be getting is between 9-10 hours a night, with a possible half an hour power nap during the day if still tired.
One factor that was mentioned above is the importance of reducing distractions when they should be sleeping. Things like instant messaging and texting can cause massive loss of sleep which is disastrous when you consider the importance of it. With all the important examinations and various gradings that happen at this stage in life, it is essential teenagers get the right amount of sleep.
A couple of extra habits that are relevant to children and teenagers around this age are:
- Try to avoid caffeine, especially if it is near bed time as this can cause disruptions to sleeping patterns.
- Only use your bed for sleeping in, try not to read, listen to music, or text when you’re in bed as this could disassociate the bed with sleeping.
Helping children and teens develop good sleeping habits is possible. The results will have a lasting effect on their lives for years to come.