Sleep and Sleep Disorders in Children and Teens (cont.)

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Do teenagers have the same sleep requirements as younger children?

Most teens need about 9.5 to 10 hours of sleep per day. Some studies have indicated that they have a different internal "sleep clock" than those younger or older than them. Researchers have demonstrated that teens are truly "night owls," and if left to their own devices, would spontaneously wake from a good night's sleep anywhere from 9:00 am to 10:00 am. High school teachers who have classes before this time period have empiric experience to second this observation. Younger children may need anywhere from 14 hours (infant: 2 naps plus nighttime long block) to 10 hours (middle school child).

How can I teach my child or teenager healthy sleep habits and good sleep hygiene?

Primary to establishing good sleep habits is a realization that sleep is a normal and necessary function. However, just as other normal and necessary functions (for example, eating, toilet training, etc.), a battle may develop between parents and their child in this area. All children older than 5 to 6 months of age need to master the ability to self-soothe and relax in order to successfully fall asleep. Depriving them of this skill by either feeding or rocking them to sleep, reading until the child falls asleep, or lying down with the child in order facilitate falling asleep, is a recipe for frustration - both for the child and the parent. Tired children (of any age) intuitively know when they are tired and, if provided the proper environment, will easily and quickly fall asleep. When they awaken during the middle of the night they are capable of falling back to sleep without parental intervention. In this circumstance, both child and parents awake refreshed the next morning.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/15/2014

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Sleep Disorders in Children and Teens - Treatments Question: What treatment has been effective for your child's sleep disorder?
Sleep Disorder In Children And Teens - Symptoms Question: Does your child have a sleep disorder? What symptoms does he/she suffer?
Sleep Disorders in Children and Teens - Tips Question: Please provide tips for helping your child get to sleep. Include your child's age.
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Sleep Disorders in Children and Teens - Night Terrors Question: Has your child ever had night terrors? What was it like and how did you handle the situation?

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