Sleep. Everyone needs it; almost none of us get enough of it. With busy lives full of scheduled activities and responsibilities, adults and children are struggling to get enough of it. A CBS News article calls South Carolina the 11th sleepiest state in America, with 23.22% of workers indicating daytime fatigue.
When our children are newborns, parents are obsessed with sleep, and hyper-aware of what a lack of sleep does to our bodies, minds, and mental states (see our list of favorite baby sleep books for some tips on developing good sleep habits early on). As they get older, we have different sleep struggles, often with keeping consistent nap and bedtimes or waking times to go to school or child care.
Though the experts all agree that there is no “magic number” of hours of sleep that a person needs (requirements vary for individuals), there are some general guidelines to keep in mind:
Establishing Good Sleep Habits
- Make sleep a priority | Sleep is as important to health as diet and exercise. Be sure to treat it as such
- Get in a routine | Create daily bedtime routines: try to do things the same way each evening: dinner, bathtime, reading together, saying good night
- Limit artificial light and electronics in the evening | Stimulation from tv, computers, even bright lights can interrupt your body’s natural rhythms and make it difficult to fall asleep
- Naps are important for young children | Being overtired can make it hard for kids to settle down at night. Daytime naps help refresh children for the rest of their day and make it more likely that they can go to sleep easily at bedtime
National Sleep Foundation | How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?
NY Times | Zombie Prevention: Your Child’s Sleep
American Academy of Pediatrics | Safe Sleep for Babies (video)