Did you know six in 10 middle schoolers and seven in 10 high schoolers don’t get enough sleep? Sleep is not just a luxury or a time-out from the hustle and bustle of daily life—it's a fundamental need that is essential for children's and teens' growth, learning and emotional well-being. During sleep, their bodies and brains undergo a remarkable transformation, processing new information, consolidating memories and repairing tissues damaged during the day. From improved cognitive function to better mood regulation, getting enough shut-eye is essential for kids. Here are some tips to help your child or teen get a good night's sleep:

1. Establish a Consistent Bedtime Routine

Consistency is key when it comes to helping children get a good night's sleep. Establish a calming bedtime routine that signals to your child's body that it's time to wind down and prepare for sleep. This could include activities like reading a bedtime story, taking a warm bath or practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing or gentle stretching exercises.

2. Set Up a Sleep-Friendly Environment

Create a comfortable and inviting sleep environment for your child by ensuring their bedroom is cool, quiet and dark. Invest in a supportive mattress and pillows, and consider using blackout curtains or white noise machines to block out any distractions that could disrupt their sleep.

3. Limit Screen Time Before Bed

The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with your child's natural sleep-wake cycle and make it harder for them to fall asleep. Limit screen time at least an hour before bedtime and encourage calm, screen-free activities instead, such as coloring, puzzles or quiet play.

4. Encourage Healthy Sleep Habits

Help your child develop healthy sleep habits by promoting regular bedtime and wake-up times, even on weekends. Avoid letting them stay up too late or sleep in too long, as this can disrupt their internal clock and make it harder for them to fall asleep at night.

“Kids aged 6-12 need 9-12 hours of sleep,
while kids 13-18 need 8-10 hours of sleep.”

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

5. Watch Their Diet and Hydration

Avoid serving heavy meals, sugary snacks or caffeinated beverages close to bedtime, as these can interfere with your child's ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Instead, offer light, nutritious snacks and encourage them to stay hydrated throughout the day.

6. Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine

Encourage your child to unwind before bed with a calming bedtime routine that helps them relax and prepare for sleep. This could include activities like listening to soft music, practicing gentle yoga poses or cuddling with a favorite stuffed animal.

7. Address Their Fears and Anxieties:

If your child struggles with fears or anxieties that keep them up at night, take the time to listen to their concerns and reassure them that they are safe and loved. Offer comfort and support, and consider using relaxation techniques or visualization exercises to help them feel calm and secure before bedtime.

8. Be Patient and Consistent

Finally, be patient and consistent in your approach to helping your child get a good night's sleep. It may take time for them to adjust to new bedtime routines or habits, so stick with it and offer plenty of encouragement and praise along the way.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention