MassGeneral Hospital for Children News

The National Sleep Foundation recommends children ages 6 to 12 sleep 10-11 hours per night. With a new study published in Pediatrics by MassGeneral Hospital for Children researchers linking reduced sleep and obesity, encouraging healthy sleeping habits in children has taken on a new precedence. The study's researchers, led by Elsie Taveras, MD, MPH, chief of General Pediatrics at MGHfC, offer some facts and tips to help parents ensure their kids get a good night’s sleep.

Facts and tips for healthy sleeping habits

19/May/2014

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Sleep Facts

The amount and quality of sleep affects a child’s mood, behavior, and learning.

  • Better quality and longer sleep is associated with better school performance.

Recent studies link not getting enough sleep to a higher risk of obesity.

  • When we get the right amount of sleep, the brain helps us to control hunger and achieve a healthy weight.

 Children need sleep for optimal brain functioning.

  • Sleep allows the brain to recharge and process information learned during the day. Sleep is especially important for children’s memory, ability to pay attention, and learning.

 

How can I help my child get the sleep s/he needs?

 Set and maintain bedtime routines.

  • A bedtime routine prepares your child for sleep
  • Try to have bedtime be the same time each night
  • Turn the TV off an hour before bedtime to make for an easier transition to sleep

Make the room where your child sleeps comfortable.

  • Put in a nightlight if your child needs light
  • Use dark curtains or shades to keep light out
  • Keep it cool and quiet. Soft music or a fan can offer background noise, if needed
  • Cozy blankets and pillows can make for better sleep

Avoid caffeine and sugar.

  • Drinking caffeinated and sugary drinks can make it difficult to sleep

Keep TV and all screen media (computers, iPads, video games) out of the room where your child sleeps.

  • TV is stimulating and can disrupt sleep, making it harder to fall asleep
  • Use a nightlight or quiet music to help your child fall asleep

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