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Intermountain Health Shares Tips for Helping Kids Maintain Healthy Sleep Habits to Reduce Stress

Intermountain Sleep Experts Share Ten Tips for Helping Kids Maintain Healthy Sleep Habits to Reduce Stress

(PRUnderground) April 30th, 2024

Sleep is essential for children’s physical and mental health, but many kids are not getting the recommended amount of sleep for their age group.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children aged 3 to 5 years should get 10 to 13 hours of sleep per night, children aged 6 to 12 years should get 9 to 12 hours of sleep per night, and teens aged 13 to 18 years should sleep for 8 to 10 hours per night.

However, stress, anxiety, disrupted routines, and increased screen time are some of the factors that can interfere with children’s sleep patterns and affect their mood, behavior, and learning.

“Sleep is vital for children’s physical health, immune system, brain development, memory, learning, and emotional regulation,” said Lori Neeleman, PhD, clinical psychologist at Intermountain Health. “Helping kids get enough sleep and reduce stress can have many benefits for their overall well-being.”

Stress can also negatively affect all aspects of children’s health and make them more vulnerable to illness, mood disorders, and behavioral problems, said Dr. Neeleman.

Intermountain sleep experts recommend that parents help their kids establish and maintain regular sleep schedules and routines that promote healthy sleep habits and reduce stress.

Here are ten strategies for parents to follow:

  1. Set a consistent bedtime and wake-up time for your kids, even on weekends and holidays. This helps their biological clock stay in sync and makes it easier for them to fall asleep and wake up.
  2. Create a relaxing bedtime routine that includes calming activities, such as reading, listening to soothing music, or meditating. Avoid stimulating or stressful activities, such as homework, video games, or watching the news, before bed.
  3. Make sure your kids’ bedroom is comfortable, dark, quiet, and cool. Use curtains, blinds, or shades to block out any outside light. You can also use a fan, white noise machine, or earplugs to mask any noise. Adjust the thermostat to a comfortable temperature.
  4. Limit your kids’ exposure to blue light from screens, such as TVs, computers, tablets, and smartphones, at least an hour before bed. Blue light can suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and wake cycles.
  5. Encourage your kids to get enough physical activity during the day but avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime. Exercise can help your kids stay fit, burn off excess energy, and improve their mood and sleep quality. However, exercising too late can make them feel alert and make it harder for them to fall asleep.
  6. Help your kids avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, especially in the afternoon and evening. These substances can act as stimulants and disrupt sleep. Caffeine can be found in coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, and chocolate. Nicotine can be found in cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and some medications. Alcohol can interfere with sleep quality and cause frequent awakenings.
  7. Teach your kids healthy coping skills for managing stress and anxiety, such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, positive self-talk, and gratitude. Help them identify and express their feelings and seek support from you or other trusted adults when they need it.
  8. Limit your kids’ exposure to news and social media that can trigger stress, fear, or anger. Help them find reliable sources of information and limit their time spent on them. Remind them of the positive things that are happening in the world and in their lives.
  9. Encourage your kids to have a balanced and nutritious diet that supports their growth and development. Avoid skipping meals or eating too much or too little. Provide them with healthy snacks and avoid foods that are high in sugar, fat, or salt.
  10. Model good sleep habits and stress management for your kids. Show them that you value sleep and make it a priority in your life. Share with them how you cope with stress and challenges in a positive way. Be a good example and a good listener for your kids.

Dr. Lori Neeleman says by following these tips, parents can help their kids improve their sleep quality and quantity, and cope with stress in a healthy way.

A physician may recommend a sleep study to access a child and test for sleep disorders. For more information go here.

About Intermountain Health

Headquartered in Utah with locations in seven states and additional operations across the western U.S., Intermountain Health is a nonprofit system of 33 hospitals, 385 clinics, medical groups with some 3,900 employed physicians and advanced care providers, a health plans division called Select Health with more than one million members, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes at sustainable costs. For more information or updates, see

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