The Importance of a Good Night’s Sleep for Children

As adults, most of us are grateful for whatever amount of sleep we can get between chores and work. Unfortunately, children are hardly ever aware of how good a full night’s sleep can feel – most of them want to stay up for as long as they can. The situation is even harder to manage in teenagers, who no longer want to be constrained by fixed bedtimes and night-time curfews. However, the importance of sleep cannot be overstated. If you’re the parent or caretaker of a child or teenager, it is extremely important to ensure that they understand the need and importance of sleeping right.

What makes sleep so important?

Imagine if you tried to run your laptop throughout the day, without charging. Once its internal charge has been consumed, it would die. Sleep serves the same function in human beings: it recharges us. But that’s not all. When we sleep, our brain consolidates information and streamlines data, forming new pathways to help us prepare for our time awake.

There are four major ways in which sleep enables children to live healthier and more productive lives:

How much sleep should my child get each night?

If you are the parent or caretaker of a child or teenager, one important question might be what amount of sleep your child should get each day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend at least 10 hours of sleep for school-aged children, and 9-10 hours each day for teens. Overall, every child or teen should get at least 8 hours of uninterrupted, quality sleep at night. Remember, not all sleep is equivalent: according to a recent study conducted by researchers at the universities of Minnesota and Montreal, children who get most of their sleep at night – as opposed to daytime naps – do better in terms of executive function, impulse control and working memory. So even if your child is getting 8-10 hours of sleep, if most of them occur during the day including naps, now is the time to fix their sleeping patterns and help them be the healthiest, most energetic versions of themselves.