Sleep Well

Tips and Resources

The pandemic creates many challenges for sleep, which is vital for maintaining good physical and mental health. Check out the resources listed below to find ways to make your sleep more effective, even during times of stress.

Tips

General

  1. Make regular sleep a priority
  2. Consistent wake and bedtimes will help you get better sleep and be more productive
  3. Get exercise during the day to help sleep at night
  4. Use your bed only for sleep
  5. Try practicing sleep relaxation exercises
  6. Avoid going to bed too hungry or too full
  7. Limit caffeine intake, especially before bedtime
  8. Avoid high-stimulation activities before bedtime
  9. Restrict use of screens in the bedroom
  10. Talk to your doctor about sleep concerns

For Teens

  1. Teens aged 13-18 should get 8-10 hours of sleep nightly
  2. Ask your teens how you can help support good sleep hygiene
  3. Consider implementing restrictions on screens beyond a certain time of night
  4. Help your teen avoid drastically different weekend sleep schedules
  5. Try a simple, cheap alarm clock to remove the need for cell phone alarms (and thus sleep-disruptive cell phones at nighttime)

For Kids

  1. Kids aged 6-12 should get 9-12 hours of sleep nightly
  2. Consider a reward system to encourage a good sleep routine
  3. Put children to bed when drowsy, but awake
  4. An active, regular daytime schedule can help kids relax and go to bed more easily
  5. Enforce bedtimes, especially on school nights

For Infants and Toddlers

  1. Ages 4-12 months should get 12-16 hours of sleep per 24 hours, including naps
  2. Ages 1-2 years should get 11-14 hours of sleep per 24 hours, including naps
  3. Keep your baby safe during sleep. Always put your infant on their back to sleep
  4. If you are waking up during the night to feed your infant, take naps when they do during the day
  5. With an infant at home, it’s important to say “no” to added responsibility and say “yes” to help. Prioritize your sleep

Articles

Videos

Activities

Frequently Asked Questions: Improving Sleep

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Q.

Is it ok for my older kids to take naps during the day?

A.

Kids stop needing naps during the day between ages 3 and 5. It is okay for older kids to take naps occasionally, but if they are having difficulty sleeping at night, naps should be avoided as they can disrupt normal sleep patterns and worsen insomnia.

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Q.

How long before bed should we be away from screens?

A.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends turning screens off thirty minutes before bed.

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Q.

What are some easy changes to sleep environments to help make it more restful?

A.

Making sure that bedding is comfortable, that the bedroom is cool, and that there are no light distractions will help you sleep better.

faq down arrow faq up arrow Nighttime routines
Q.

Is there a strategy to planning a nighttime routine to help my kids calm down at night?

A.

Avoiding stimulating activities right before bed will help your child when bedtime comes. Following a regular schedule will also make bedtimes easier.

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Q.

My toddler sometimes wakes up with night terrors. He is very upset when it happens. How should I deal with this? Is there anything I can do to prevent night terrors?

A.

The best way to handle a night terror is to wait it out patiently and make sure your child doesn’t get hurt thrashing around. Don’t try to wake your child, as this is rarely successful and can worsen agitation. Good sleep routines and preventing your child from becoming overtired are the best preventive measures. For more support, click here.

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Q.

Are there safe and helpful over the counter medications that are effective for sleep? Are these safe for kids?

A.

There are medications and supplements that treat insomnia that are safe for children, but these should not be used without first establishing good sleep hygiene. It is important to talk with your doctor before giving your children any over the counter medications for sleep, as these may interact with existing medications or underlying conditions.

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Q.

My child wets the bed. Should I be worried? How can I help them stay dry?

A.

Bedwetting is very common, especially for boys. Very rarely does it indicate underlying structural or physiological abnormalities. Visit HealthyChildren.org for information on bedwetting, risk factors, and treatment.

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Q.

When should I talk to my child’s doctor about getting help with sleep?

A.

Discuss sleep at any well child visit, or make a separate appointment to discuss concerns about your child’s sleep if improvement in sleep hygiene does not help adequately.

Q.

Could my child have sleep apnea?

A.

Sleep apnea is relatively uncommon in children. Signs are non-specific, and include snoring, pauses in breathing, daytime fatigue, and behavioral problems, among others. Make an appointment with your doctor if you think your child may have sleep apnea.

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