Sleep Disorders

13 February 2015

Good bedtime habits and rules help kids sleep better

Regular bedtime, along with limits on caffeine and electronics in the bedroom, are all key to help kids get good sleep.


A regular bedtime and other sleep-related rules help children and teens get a good night's sleep, a new study suggests.

"Good quality and sufficient sleep are vital for children," study leader Orfeu Buxton, an associate professor of bio-behavioural health at Penn State in College Park, Pa., said in a university news release.

Sleep is critical for children

"Just like a healthy diet and exercise, sleep is critical for children to stay healthy, grow, learn, do well in school, and function at their best," Buxton added.

Researchers analysed survey responses from more than 1,100 American parents or guardians of youngsters aged 6 to 17.

Even though most of the parents believed sleep was important, only 10 percent of the children and teens in the study got the recommended amount of sleep for their age group.

Read: Sleep or die

For ages 6 to 11, the amount of recommended sleep is at least nine hours a night.

It's at least eight hours nightly for ages 12 to 17, according to the study.

Regular bedtime and rules

Youngsters were more likely to get better and more sleep if they had a regular bedtime and rules such as limited caffeine consumption and no electronic devices on in the bedroom after bedtime, the researchers found.

"An important consequence of our modern-day, 24/7 society is that it is difficult for families - children and caregivers both - to get adequate sleep," Buxton noted.

Read: Can’t sleep? Try magnesium

The findings were published in the Jan. 26 issue of the journal Sleep Health.

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Sleep disorders increase during pregnancy

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Image: Sleeping boy from Shutterstock

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Dr Alison Bentley is a general practitioner who has consulted in sleep medicine and sleep disorders, in both adults and children of all ages, for almost 30 years. She also researches and publishes on a number of sleep-related topics both in formal research journals and lay publications including as editor of Sleep Matters, an educational newsletter on sleep disorders for doctors.

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