Sleep and Your School-Aged Child
How Much Sleep Do School-Age Kids Need?
School-age kids need 9–12 hours of sleep a night. Homework, sports, and after-school activities, screen time (on computers, TVs, smartphones, and other devices), and hectic family schedules all can lead to kids not getting the sleep they need.
Kids who don’t get enough sleep may be cranky, moody, or hyper, and have behavior problems. They may have trouble learning and paying attention in school.
How Can I Help My Child Sleep?
As kids get older, it’s still important to have a consistent bedtime routine. Help your child create a relaxing routine. It should take about 30 minutes and can include taking a shower or bath, brushing teeth, and quiet activities like reading.
Turn off all screens at least 1 hour before bedtime. Keep TVs, computers, and video game systems out of the bedroom. Turn off cellphones or charge them overnight outside of the room.
It also helps to:
- Set regular bedtimes and wake-up times.
- To be sure your child gets enough sleep, decide when your child needs to get up for school in the morning and count back 9–12 hours from there.
- On weekends, try to stick to the sleep schedule as close as you can. Aim for sleep or wake-up times no more than an hour later than on weekdays.
- Keep the bedroom dark, cool, and quiet.
- Don't give your child foods or drinks with caffeine (found in coffee, tea, sodas, and chocolate), especially in the late afternoon or evening.
- Make sure your child gets plenty of exercise during the day. This can help kids sleep better at night.
What if My Child Has Sleep Problems?
It’s common for kids to have trouble sleeping once in a while. But kids may have a sleep problem if they often can’t fall asleep, wake up a lot at night, snore, or are very sleepy during the day.
Common sleep problems in kids include:
- night terrors
- sleep apnea
If you have questions or concerns about your child’s sleep, talk with your doctor.