Sleep in School-Aged Children
What Can I Expect from my School-Aged Child?
• Most school-aged children need between 10 and 11 hours of sleep per night.
• Not getting enough sleep is common in this age group. This happens because of homework, outside activities, more use of electronics and later bedtimes.
What are Some Common Sleep Problems for School-Aged Children?
• Trouble falling asleep and staying asleep is common in this age group.
• Sleep walking, teeth grinding, nighttime fears, night terrors, bedwetting, snoring and noisy breathing are also common.
• As children get older, parents may not notice sleep problems as quickly as when children are younger.
What are Some Signs that my Child May not be Getting Enough Sleep?
• Behavior problems: Even as little as 30 to 60 minutes less sleep than he needs may affect your child’s behavior.
• Trouble thinking: Children who do not get enough sleep often have trouble paying attention, staying organized and remembering things.
• Falling asleep during the day: If your child often dozes off during the day, he may not be getting enough sleep or may not be getting quality sleep.
• Weight problems: There is a link between not getting enough sleep and being overweight in both children and adults. Children who don’t get enough sleep may also get less exercise because they are tired.
How Can I Help My Child Sleep Well?
• Set up a regular schedule that leaves room for your child to get enough sleep. Aim for a bedtime no later than 9:00 p.m.
• Follow a routine that is the same each night. Include calm activities like reading together.
• Plan your child’s bedroom surroundings: Keep the temperature cool and the room dark and quiet. Nightlights are fine. Computers, TVs and gaming systems are not.
• Make sleep a priority: Older children may need some help planning their evening so they can get to bed on time.
• Set limits: If your child stalls at bedtime, help him stay on track by setting clear limits about when lights go off and how long you will read together.
• Avoid caffeine (found in sodas and energy drinks). It may cause your child to have trouble falling asleep.
• Turn off electronics: Internet, TV and games too close to bedtime can cause sleep problems.
When Should I Call the Doctor?
• Your child has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
• Your child seems to have trouble breathing, snores, or is a noisy breather.
• Your child is falling asleep during the day on a regular basis.
• You are worried that your child’s sleep problems are affecting his behavior during the day.
For more information on sleep in children, go to http://www.aap.org.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 07/19/2012
Copyright © 07/19/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7390
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