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Healthy sleep practices for children[1]

Healthy sleep practices for children[1]
  1. Have a set bedtime and bedtime routine for your child.
  1. Bedtime and wake-up time should be approximately the same time on school nights and non-school nights. There should not be more than about an hour difference from 1 day to another.
  1. Make the hour before bed shared quiet time. Avoid high-energy activities, such as rough play, and stimulating activities, such as watching television or playing computer games, just before bed.
  1. Don't send your child to bed hungry. A light snack (such as milk and cookies) before bed is a good idea. Heavy meals within an hour or 2 of bedtime, however, may interfere with sleep.
  1. Avoid products containing caffeine. These include caffeinated sodas, coffee, tea, and chocolate.
  1. Make sure your child spends time outside (for exposure to natural light) every day whenever possible and is involved in regular exercise.
  1. Keep your child's bedroom quiet and dark. A low-level night light is acceptable for children who find completely dark rooms frightening.
  1. Keep your child's bedroom at a comfortable temperature during the night (approximately 65°F).
  1. Don't use your child's bedroom for time-out or punishment.
  1. Avoid use of electronic media devices (televisions, laptop computers, smartphones) for at least 1 hour before bedtime, and keep these devices out of the bedroom. Children can easily develop the bad habit of using social media after bedtime or "needing" the television to fall asleep. It's much more difficult to control your child's electronic media if the devices are in the bedroom.
  1. Mindell J, Owens J. Sleep Hygiene: Healthy Sleep Habits for Children and Adolescents. In: A Clinical Guide to Pediatric Sleep, 2nd ed, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia 2009.
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