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Sleep...why is it important?

posted Nov 16, 2015, 12:47 PM by Julie Mayhew

Many thanks to preschool teacher Ms. Jerilyn Caya for writing this short article about the importance of sleep in young children!

The National Sleep Foundation ( reports that sleep helps us solidify and consolidate memories (pieces of information are transferred from short-term memory to long-term memory), restore and rejuvenate, grow muscle, repair tissue, and synthesize hormones.

Preschoolers (3-5 years) typically sleep 11-13 hours each night.  Most children after five years of age no longer nap.  Difficulty falling asleep,  waking up during the night, nighttime fears and nightmares are common for preschool children.  Sleepwalking and sleep terrors also peak during preschool years.  

Ways to help your preschooler sleep:

  • Maintain a regular and consistent sleep schedule.

  • Have a relaxing bedtime routine that ends in the room where the child sleeps.

  • Child should sleep in the same sleeping environment every night, in a room that is cool, quiet and dark – and without a TV.

School-aged children (6-13 years) need 9-11 hours of sleep.  They become more interested in media such as television and computers, as well as caffeine products which can lead to difficulty falling asleep, nightmares, and disruptions to their sleep.

Ways to help your school-aged child sleep:

  • Teach school-aged children about healthy sleep habits.

  • Continue to emphasize need for regular and consistent sleep schedule and bedtime routine.

  • Make child's bedroom conducive to sleep – dark, cool and quiet.

  • Keep TV and computers out of the bedroom.

  • Avoid caffeine.