Anyone who has had kids has at some point wondered “How can I get them to go to sleep???” Toddler bedtime tantrums are legendary and even teens have a hard time falling asleep, especially if they have a phone or video games they’d rather be on. The truth is that making sure your son or daughter knows how to get to sleep and is able to do it at an early time each and every night isn’t just great for your own peace and quiet. It’s incredibly important for their health, well-being, and growth!
When children don't get enough sleep, they have a harder time controlling their emotions. They may be irritable or hyper, neither of which is great for you either. Kids and teens who are consistently sleep-deprived are more likely to have behavior problems, have trouble paying attention and learning, and be overweight. All of these have the potential to bring about consequences that last a lifetime. In order to put their health first, it is time to develop and stick to a bedtime routine for kids or teens.
How Much Sleep is Needed?
Before you can know whether or not your child is getting enough sleep, you need to know what “enough” is. Here is an easy breakdown:
Up to one year: Newborns need approximately 14-17 hours a day with periods of wakefulness lasting 1-3 hours.
1-3 years old: Most toddlers need about 12-14 hours of sleep, which includes a daytime nap or two.
3-6 years old: Younger children need approximately 11-12 hours of sleep.
7-12 years old: Children of this age group tend to need about 10-12 hours of nightly sleep, slightly less than younger children.
13-18 years old: Teens of this age require about 8-10 hours of sleep, which is more than an adult even though they’ll swear they are already a grown up!
The most recommended sleep tips for your child or teen, as passed along from medical professionals and experts, include:
Yoga: There are several yoga poses that are ideal for children to do in the evening. Have them follow a simple bedtime yoga sequence and focus on their breathing while saying “I am strong” or “I am peaceful.” You’ll notice the recommended poses are simple enough for anyone to do. Bedtime yoga for kids isn’t about getting into crazy shapes, but rather feeling calm and centered.
Meditation: Kids are people too, which means that they get stressed and overwhelmed just as much as we do! The mental and physical benefits of meditation are widely recognized- not only for adults, but children too. Those who learn to meditate at a young age are able to develop “core skills” necessary for emotion regulation such as proper breathing, slowing the heart-rate, and identifying symptoms of anxiety. This is the perfect nighttime activity and bedtime meditation for kids allowing for deeper sleep, keeping your child well-rested and preparing them for school the next day.
Reading: When you want to know how to help kids sleep, reading them a bedtime story is a tried and true method. Sitting still and listening to a relaxing bedtime story can help improve their concentration. As well, it helps them learn and improve their vocabulary and language skills, plus use their imagination. Older kids and teens may prefer to read quietly to themselves, which offers many of the same benefits, both for their reading comprehension skills and for settling their mind for sleep.
Music: Gentle music calms the nervous system and supports healthy brain functioning. This is true for everyone from newborn babies all the way through the teenage years. Music to put kids to sleep can help little ones feel safe, relaxed, and calm. Even for older kids and teens, music during bedtime can help energy levels decrease and encourage the body to prepare for sleep naturally.
This list is only the beginning of things to help kids sleep. Your child may enjoy journaling, doing a puzzle, or painting. The best way to be successful in the long term is to find a routine that works well for their personality and for your family’s daily lifestyle.
Will any of this teach them how to instantly fall asleep? No! but that should not be the goal anyway, because falling asleep too quickly is actually a sign of exhaustion and other sleep disorders, which isn't something you want for the kids in your life. What you want them to learn is how to get more deep sleep naturally, not having them fall asleep the moment their head touches the pillow.
These tips for a good night's sleep only go so far. It’s important to note that a healthy bedtime routine won’t result in deep, uninterrupted sleep if you’re putting your child or teen to bed on an old, uncomfortable, or cheaply-made mattress. The mattress a person sleeps on goes a long way toward allowing them to get the rest their body desperately needs. This is why a premium, American-made PranaSleep luxury mattress is recommended. There’s a lot that goes into choosing the perfect PranaSleep mattress for them. We recommend finding a PranaSleep retail partner and letting them try out a few mattresses before you make a decision together.
When a mattress is expertly-designed and hand-crafted, you can trust your son or daughter will get the night of sleep their body, mind, and soul needs. One of the best reasons to choose a PranaSleep premium mattress is that each and every one is made exceptionally well and designed to provide a great night of sleep for sleepers of all ages.