How to Get Your Child the Sleep He Needs

My kids have so much homework and so many extracurricular activities they hardly have time to sleep. It’s a time management issue to be sure. And if your house is like mine, sleep is the commodity that always gets short-changed.

People don’t generally give sleep much thought. Up too late last night? Have a cup of coffee or an energy drink. But those solutions don’t work for your kids. What to do? There’s only one answer: find the time for your children to get the sleep they need. With that in mind, here’s an article about sleep written just for kids. It probably wouldn’t hurt you to read it, too!

Everyone sleeps. It’s how your body recharges itself so you’ll be ready to get up tomorrow feeling rested, healthy, and strong. Most kids between the ages of 8 and 12 need about 10 hours of sleep every night. The older you get, the less sleep you need. If you’re between 13 and 17 you’ll need about 9 hours. And, if you’re 18 or older, 8 hours should do it.

But, between after-school activities, homework, and everything else going on, it’s hard to find time to get the sleep your body needs. Try hard, though, because sleep is very important to your health. You need sleep so you can be your best at school, at sports, and in life.

Every once in a while, you may find that you can’t fall asleep. There’s usually a good reason. It could be a test at school you’re worried about, or something someone said that hurt or angered you. As you lie in bed you may keep thinking about it over and over in your head. And guess what happens? You can’t go to sleep. Think the problem through and talk to someone about it. Even if the problem can’t be solved, just talking it out will help you relax and get some sleep.

It’s also possible you’re too hot, too cold, too hungry, or too crowded in bed to fall asleep. Turn on a fan if you’re hot. Put socks on if you’re cold. Eat a light snack if you’re hungry. And make sure your bed isn’t jammed with so much stuff there’s no room for you. If none of that works, try this technique to fall asleep: First, start with your toes and concentrate on completely relaxing them. When your toes are relaxed, do the same for your feet. Then, one at a time, do your ankles, legs, hands, and arms. Before you know it, you’ll be sound asleep.

Here are some more tips to sleep by. They always work!

  1. Play hard and eat right during the day.
  2. After dinner, limit foods and drinks that contain caffeine, like chocolate and sodas.
  3. Don’t watch scary TV shows or play action video games close to bedtime because they can make it hard to sleep.
  4. Organize yourself and take the pressure off the next morning by packing your lunch, laying out your clothes, collecting your homework, and getting your backpack ready.
  5. Go to bed around the same time every night; this helps your body get on a schedule.
  6. Floss, brush, and take a warm shower every night; this tells your body it’s time for bed.
  7. Tune out the noise when it’s time to fall asleep. Turn off your music player, computer, and TV.
  8. Get comfortable in bed.
  9. Relax. Think about things that make you happy.
The Boy's Body Guide: Health and Hygiene for Young Men 8 and Up