Sleep Disorders in Children and Teens - Tips

Please provide tips for helping your child get to sleep. Include your child's age.

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What are some ways I can help my child or teenager get a better night's sleep?

These "do's" are adapted from "Sleep Problems: Your Child" University of Michigan Health Care System and "Healthy Sleep Tips" from the National Sleep Foundation.

  1. Make bedtime a special time. Create special soothing and calming experiences with the opportunity for special "talks" or sharing experiences that foster comfort for both child and parent.
  2. Study your child so you can determine when he is ready to sleep. Once this is determined you can start the "get ready for bed" routine with enough time in advance so the child doesn't get a "second wind".
  3. Keep the bedtime routine consistent and simple. Mental and physical stimulation is counter productive. Dim lights starting about 10 15 minutes before going to sleep. Bright lights act as a stimulant to the child's brain.
  4. Keep the bedtime routine portable. For example, it can occur whether at home or outside of the home (for example, in a motel during vacation).
  5. Make sure your child is both mentally and physically tired at the end of the day. Children need between 30 to 60 minutes per day of vigorous playtime (depending on the age). Besides fostering good sleep habits, such a program will help maintain optimum weight gain.
  6. Establish a restful atmosphere. Keep the lights dim, limit noise and electronic devices. Teens should turn off computers/TV's and cell phones when retiring to bed. The bedroom temperature should be between 60 F and 67 F or 15.5 C to 19.4 C.
  7. Avoid afternoon naps in children over 6 years of age.
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