Sleep is important to everybody When we sleep, we rest and gain energy for a new day. Sleep is, however, much more than that. When we dream, we process all the events of our daily life, and it helps to lay down long term memories. After a night without enough sleep, one feels irritable and exhausted, but after a good nights sleep, one feels rested, refreshed and full of energy. This is why it is important for all that a child gets a good nights sleep. It can influence the whole family, as, if the child is not sleeping through the night, neither are the parents.
Important sleep facts
- Sleep is important for a child’s health and wellbeing.
- At night, the body produces more of the hormone that stimulates growth, so sleep is important for your child’s development as well.
- Newborn babies sleep up to 16 hours per day. At first they wake every 2-3 hours to feed.
- From 4 months old, babies often sleep for longer periods, sometimes through the night.
- From 6 months old and up to 1 year, they will sleep for 5-6 hours continuously.
- Children between 1-5 years need to sleep up to 12 hours each day, either in 2 sessions or once at night.
- A school age child sleeps around 10 hours per day.
The importance of sleep
- It’s important to remember that each child’s sleeping pattern is different. If a child is 1 year old and sleeps 10 hours per day, it may be enough, providing that the child is happy and healthy.
- It is a good idea to look at other members of the family to see if there is a connection between sleeping habits.
How to develop good sleeping habits
- Get into a routine as early as possible.
- Try to keep to the routine every day, even during weekends and holidays.
- Encourage a wind-down at the end of the day, try a bath or shower, and then read a story before sleeping.
- Let the child sleep in her/his own bed, try to avoid them falling asleep on the couch or in the parents bed.
- Put a small light if the child requires and encourage them to sleep alone. If they get out of bed, tell them it is bed time and they will have a fun day tomorrow, but they need to sleep now, then take them back to their bed and stay with them until they fall asleep.