The American Academy of Sleep Medicine says that school-age children should get at least 9 hours of sleep a night.
Children who slept less than nine hours were more likely to have behavior problems, do poorly in school, and be overweight or obese.
The Academy says that ideally, pre-school children should get 11-13 hours of sleep a night, and school-aged children should get 10-11 hours a night.
Here are the Academy's tips to help your child sleep better:
- Follow a consistent bedtime routine. Set aside 10 to 30 minutes to get your child ready to go to sleep each night.
- Establish a relaxing setting at bedtime.
- Interact with your child at bedtime. Don't let the TV, computer or video games take your place.
- Keep your children from TV programs, movies and video games that are not right for their age.
- At bedtime, do not allow your child to have foods or drinks that contain caffeine. This includes chocolate and sodas. Try not to give him or her any medicine that has a stimulant at bedtime. This includes cough medicines and decongestants.
- Don't send your child to bed hungry, but don't eat a big meal right before bedtime.
- Your child's bedroom should be quiet, as dark as she will allow, and a little cool.
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