While we adjust to the changes COVID-19 has brought to our routines, making sleep a priority is essential for supporting the health of the entire family. With more free time on hand, major changes in daily schedules, and less structured days, children may find themselves spending more time on their devices and less time outdoors. Spending so much time in front of a TV or computer screen, especially close to bedtime, can lead to difficulty and disruptions with sleep. Children are used to routine and structure, so keeping them focused on tasks, healthy eating habits, and getting enough sleep each night, will help them stay centered and more resilient during these tough times.
Adequate sleep is especially important for children as it directly impacts mental and physical development. Growing research shows that children who are sleep deprived are at a higher risk for obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and mental and behavioral problems. A lack of sleep is associated with poor dietary choices and an increase in appetite, leading to a greater risk of eating too many calories. There is also science that suggests not getting enough sleep can reduce the body’s ability fight common illnesses such as a cold and the flu. While stress can interfere with sleep, a lack of sleep can also increase your stress and anxiety levels.
How much sleep do we need each night?
- Children ages 6-12 years old need 9-12 hours.
- Children ages 13-18 years old need 8-10 hours.
- Adults should aim for 7-9 hours.
Sleep Tips for School Age Children
- Set a consistent sleep schedule and bedtime routine.
- Try to follow a daily schedule.
- Make a child’s bedroom conducive to sleep by keeping it dark, quiet, and cool.
- Keep the TV and devices out of the bedroom and avoid them close to bedtime.
- Avoid drinking caffeine and eating sugary foods.
- Spend more time outdoors and be active.