General Business

6 Ways to Get Your Child Back to Sleep

Children are going back to school and that means they need to get back to a sleep schedule! Having a good night’s sleep is vital for a child’s growth, immune function, and overall development, so getting them back on schedule is important.

As per the Sleep Foundation, the recommended duration of sleep for preschoolers (3 to 5 years) is 10 to 13 hours, while school-age kids (6 to 12 years) need 9 to 11 hours each night. Adolescent children (14 to 17 years) need 8 to 10 hours of sleep. Some children may need more sleep or less sleep, and it depends on whether they feel tired and sleepy during the day. Following are tips to help children get a good night’s sleep:

1. A consistent sleep schedule and good sleep hygiene help improve sleep. It is very important for children to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every day – even on weekends and holidays! Try to bring the scheduled sleep time forward by 15 to 30 minutes each day from their typical “summer bedtime” to the desired time of “school” bedtime.

2. Create the right sleep environment. Make sure the bedroom is quiet, dark and set to a comfortable, cool temperature. This helps children to fall asleep.

3. Go to sleep when you start feeling sleepy.

4. Keep computers, tablets and TVs out of the bedroom. Blue light affects sleep, and children should only use these devices for up to two hours a day. Limiting the use of electronics, particularly 1 to 2 hours prior to sleep, is strongly recommended.

5. Use the bedroom only for sleep as it helps retrain your brain to fall asleep. Try to avoid hanging out in the bedroom and in bed as much as possible.

6. Relax. Activities such as reading a book or listening to soothing music can help children relax at bedtime. Having a warm bath prior to bedtime and physical activity prior to 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. also promotes sleep.

About the Author: Prabhavathi Gummalla, MD, FAAP, is a sleep specialist at Valley Health’s Pediatric Sleep Disorders & Apnea Center. She specializes in pediatric pulmonology and pediatric sleep medicine. For more information or to make an appointment, please call 201-447-8152, or visit

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