Sleep plays a critical role in our physical and mental health. Sleep is necessary for our well being and directly affects our quality of life. But what defines “good” or “quality” sleep? The components of a good night’s rest are as follows:
A sufficient amount of sleep is needed. The amounts vary according to age and even personality. An newborn and infants up to 3 months of age need an average of 16-20 hours of sleep per day. Older babies from 4 months to 12 months need about 10-12 hours each night with naps during the day totaling about 3 hours.
Children aged 1 to 3 years need 12 to 14 hours sleep each day. Most will sleep around 10 hours each night with one or two naps during the day. Children ages 3 and up need 10 to 12 hours sleep each day--this includes naps.
Sleep should be uninterrupted. The child that is up throughout the night can often be irritable, less alert mentally and more tired throughout the day.
Naps are important. Naps provide time for growth and “recharging.” Also, often children cannot get much needed rest all at once at night so some day time sleep is essential. Naps also prevent children from getting over-tired and falling asleep too early at night.
A sleep schedule is key. Getting a good night’s rest can hinge on keeping the same sleep schedule each day. Going to bed and waking at the same time each day will develop a good sleep pattern and rest will be of good quality.
A good sleep environment is needed. For quality sleep, the room where one sleeps should be cool, quiet, darkened and without a television.
Parents today are busier than ever. Work, household responsibilities and seeing to our children’s needs fill the day time hours. By evening, most parents are ready for a good night’s rest. The reality is however, that many parents and young children do not get uninterrupted sleep each night. While most children learn to sleep through the night during infancy, many children do not.
If your child is not sleeping through the night, waking up too early, or not sleeping enough, establishing a bed-time routine can be the most important step in obtaining an uninterrupted night of sleep.
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