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7 Tips for a Better Bedtime Routine

August 16, 2019

Posted in Parenting

According to the National Sleep Foundation, healthy sleep patterns improve quality of life. In children and teens, getting enough sleep is critical to physical and mental development. But with the busy school-year upon us, how can you ensure your children (and YOU) are getting enough rest?

To help both you and your little one get some sound shut-eye, the first step is to understand how much sleep is enough sleep. The NSF recommends the following:

  • Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours each day 
  • Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours 
  • Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours 
  • Preschoolers (3-5):  10-13 hours 
  • School-age children (6-13): 9-11 hours 
  • Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours 

Other tips to get a good night’s sleep:

  • Develop a 30-minute quiet routine prior to bed.
  • No electronics for an hour prior to bed, they emit a light that tells the brain to “wake up!”
  • Avoid caffeine in young children and limit to 1 8 oz. serving in the morning for adolescents.
  • Use lower-wattage light bulbs for an hour prior to bed and sleep in the dark (or a very small night light placed far from the bed).
  • Sleep in cool temperatures (68F)
  • Keep the bedroom quiet at night.  Use a fan to mask outside noises.
  • Avoid co-sleeping with parents, siblings, or pets as their movements can awaken your child

Following these tips should help soothe your child, give them independence and help you get some much-needed and deserved rest. However, if your child continues to have sleep problemsm – or if you suspect a more serious sleep disorder – get some help for you and your family.

Talk to your primary care physician about building good sleep habits.  If those strategies are not successful, consult an inter-professional team of specialists at Arkansas Children’s Sleep Clinic. They diagnose and treat more than 14 sleep disorders and conditions for infants, toddlers, young children and adolescents.

Arkansas Children’s Sleep Clinic sees patients in Little Rock, Springdale and Jonesboro. To schedule an appointment in Little Rock or Jonesboro, call 501-364-4000. To schedule an appointment at Arkansas children’s Northwest in Springdale, call 479-725-6995.


About the Author:

Wendy L. Ward, Ph.D., ABPP, FAPA


Director of Interprofessional Faculty Development

Associate Director of Professional Wellness

Arkansas Children’s Hospital and UAMS

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