August 30, 2019 - Wellness

Back to School: Are Your Kids Catching Enough ZZZs?

With busy school schedules, extracurricular activities, and piles of homework, sleep can sometimes become a lower priority for a child. On average, children need about 9 to 11 hours of sleep every night. But according to a study from ParticipACTION, about 31 percent of school-age children do not get enough sleep, and nearly one-third of school-age children experience problems with their sleep-wake cycle. This means many children don’t get adequate rest at night, making it harder for them to concentrate in school the next day. Keep reading and learn how to make sleep a higher priority on your family’s to-do list this school year. 

Recommended Hours of Sleep for Kids

From the National Sleep Foundation   

  • Preschoolers (3-5 years): 10-13 hours 
  • School-age children (6-13 years): 9-11 hours 
  • Teenagers (14-17 years): 8-10 hours 

Sleep and Your Child’s Health  

When children don’t get enough sleep, they not only have a harder time focusing in school, but they’re at higher risk of developing a severe health disorder with long-term side effects. Research shows that prolonged sleep deprivation in children may:  

  • lead to diabetes and heart disease  
  • cause weight gain and obesity  
  • weaken the body’s immune system 
  • lower the brain’s ability to retain information   

By establishing a healthy sleep routine today, you can keep your child on the right track for a successful school year and a happier, healthier life. 

Sleep Tips for Back to School  

Once your child adjusts to their new bedtime routine, they’re encouraged to stick to their sleep schedule as much as possible—even on holidays and weekends. Because when that routine is disrupted, it can be harder for children to reset their sleep-wake cycle. 

Here are a few additional tips and practices you can implement right now to promote healthier sleep in your home.  

  • Build a calm sleep environment with neutral colors, dim lighting, and comfortable bedding.  
  • Allow your child to unwind 30 minutes before bedtime so they can relax their body and mind.  
  • Ensure your child maintains a balanced diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, dairy, protein, and whole grains.
  • Encourage your child to keep active throughout the day with exercise and extracurricular activities.  
  • Limit your child’s caffeine consumption, depending on their age and personal needs. 
  • Remove electronics (e.g., computers, phones, televisions, video games) and any other distractions from your child’s bedroom.    

As you implement one or more of these tips, you can help your child create a healthier sleep routine. Because when children sleep better, they feel better, perform better, and live better. For additional sleep tips and information, please visit