How much sleep do kids need? Here’s a breakdown by age

The new backpack is packed, the new clothes are laid out, and the pencils are sharpened.

But if you want a successful school year, Intermountain Healthcare Sleep Specialist Dr. Dixie Harris says, make sure you've also adjusted your child's sleep schedule.  Sleep at night impacts what happens during the day in the classroom, that's because when you're sleeping, that's when your body and mind recover.

Even just 25 minutes less sleep per night can lead to not only insufficient rest, but lower grades, fatigue, and concentration problems.  Long term effects of not getting enough sleep could lead to depression, emotional issues and chronic health problems.

Dr. Harris says how much sleep children should get really depends on their age.

• Preschool (ages three to five): 10-13 hours
• Elementary School (ages six to 13): 9-11 hours
• High School (ages 14 - 17): 8-10 hours

If your kids aren't getting enough  sleep they may exhibit these symptoms:  yawning, irritability, falling asleep at school, hard to get moving in the morning or hyperactivity.

Dr. Harris offered advice for parents to help their kids get improved sleep:

• Develop a calming bedtime ritual
• Stick with a consistent bedtime
• Take electronics and other distractions out of the bedroom
• No caffeine 12 hours or more before bed.
• Check the temperature and light of the room. Typically, a cooler and darker room helps with sleep.
• Mom & Dad set a good example and mirror healthy sleep schedules

If you suspect a larger issue, talk to your pediatrician or family practice doctor.  They can refer you to a specialist if needed.

For more information please visit: intermountainhealthcare.org.

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