Open Your Eyes to How Much Sleep Your Kids Need

V1 Staff

The end of the school year and the arrival of summer vacation often mean a change in sleep schedules. HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital’s accredited sleep disorders center has tips to keep the kids fully rested during the summer months. Kelly Schmidt, the HSHS Sleep Disorders Center Facilitator, said it’s always best to stay in a routine when it comes to bed time and wake time. If that’s not possible, or you just want to be a little more flexible with the rules during summer, she says try not to deviate more than one hour.

“Children, on average, need eight to 10 hours of sleep depending on their age,” she said. “That doesn’t change on holidays or during summer break. Sleep is just as important as the air you breathe.”

Schmidt said if you notice hyperactivity, behavioral issues, or prolonged extreme tiredness during the day, your child may not be getting enough quality sleep.

Here are tips Schmidt said will help avoid summer sleepiness if schedules change.

  • Limit the use of electronics one hour prior to bed to prepare bodies and brains for sleep.
  • Try not to deviate from a normal bedtime for more than two days in a row.
  • Diffuse lavender oil to naturally decrease heart rate.
  • Do not go to bed hungry; eat a light, healthy snack at least 30 minutes before bed if necessary.
  • Keep the bedroom temperature cooler than the rest of the house, if possible.
  • Before the start of a new school year, start prepping kids for earlier bed and wake times at least two weeks before school starts. Gradually push bedtime earlier by 15 minutes per night until you reach the desired bedtime. Do the same for wake time.

Schmidt said if these tips are not helping kids feel fully refreshed in the mornings, it could be a sign of a sleep disorder. “There are 84 identified sleep disorders and sometimes the cause has nothing to do with actual lack of sleep,” she said.