Why is sleep important?
Sleep is vital to human life. While we are sleeping:
- muscles, bones, and skin are repairing themselves
- the immune system is strengthening itself
- the brain is sorting through the input it received during the day, discarding what it doesn’t need, and solidifying what it does need
A common myth is that if children have a lot of energy, they must be getting enough sleep. In fact, hyperactivity or “being wired” can be a red flag that your child is not getting enough sleep, and that their body is compensating for being over-tired.
How much sleep do we need in a day?
- 0-3 Years: 16-20 hours in 1-4 hour periods
- 3-6 Years: 10-11 hours
- 6-12 Years: 10-11 hours; daytime sleepiness is rare
- 13-19 Years: 8-9 hours; daytime sleepiness is common
Signs that your child may have a sleep problem:
- apnea (snoring, pauses in breathing, or gasping for breath during sleep)
- difficulty falling asleep at night
- frequent waking in the night
- complaints of leg pain or restlessness in the night
- looking to a parent for help to fall asleep
- night terrors
- sleepwalking/sleep talking
- behaviour problems, hyperactivity, problems with attention and/or memory, mood swings
- difficulty staying awake during the day
Sleep problems are not uncommon but often go undiagnosed. Please talk with your physician for a referral to the London Pediatric Sleep Clinic if you believe your child had a sleep disorder.
For a printable tip sheet click here.