Bedtime: How Much Sleep Should Your Child Be Getting?


Bedtime – Help Your Child Get Their Best Rest

Back to school schedules are in full gear as we settle in to new routines. As parents, you know how important sleep is to growth and development for healthy kids.


Here are a few tips to help your child rest for success:

What Happens When Your Child is Sleep Deprived?

    1. Headaches
    2. More sensitivity to pain.
    3. Hyperactivity and behavioral problems.
    4. Weight gain due to appetite-regulating hormones being affected.
    5. Insulin resistance and potential risk for diabetes.
    6. Mood swings leading to feelings of depression and anxiety.
    7. Disordered sleep such as trouble falling asleep, frequent awakenings, and restless sleep.
    8. Poor school performance (struggle with attention and memory).
    9. Sports performance issues (slower reaction times).
    10. High-risk behaviors for teens such as being impulsive

Daytime Best Practices 

  1. Avoid exercise within three hours of bedtime.
  2. Make sure your child eats breakfast. It helps regulate the body’s natural rhythm.
  3. Establish the same wake up time every day (within an hour).
  4. Don’t allow napping in the afternoon (if they are past regular napping age).


What’s a Good Bedtime Routine?

      1. Set a bedtime. This sets boundaries and helps form a healthy habit.
      2. Follow a routine. Brush teeth, wash face, read a book.
      3. Avoid electronic devices within 30 minutes of going to bed. Teens should be encouraged to keep their phones off or in another room overnight.
      4. Avoid eating too close to bedtime, but don’t let them go to bed hungry.
      5. No caffine or candy several hours before bedtime (look for hidden sources).
      6. Sleep inducing foods can include turkey, bananas, yogurt, and cottage cheese.

TIP: To help your child settle for bed, all family members should quiet down. Use softer voices, dim lights, and turn off or down your TV.

bedtimeIf your child is having trouble sleeping, talk to your pediatrician or family physician about options. The Iowa Clinic provides a team of pediatricians in Ankeny and West Des Moines as well as Primary Care practices across the Metro.

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About the Author, Katherine “Christy” Sullivan, M.D.


Dr. Katherine “Christy” Sullivan earned her medical degree from the University of Nebraska College of Medicine and has been practicing pediatrics in the Des Moines area for 17 years.

In 2013, she joined The Iowa Clinic to help build their pediatric department. Dr. Sullivan is a busy working mom of five children ages 4 to 14. In her spare time, Dr. Sullivan enjoys travel and spending time with her family.




This post is part of our “Healthy Living” Series sponsored by The Iowa Clinic. For other topics, choose link below:

What is a Med-Peds Physician?

5 Tips for Looking After Your Breast Health

What to Expect … When Your Husband Gets a Vasectomy

New Year’s Resolutions: for Kids!

3 Tips in Your Exercise Prescription

Treating Allergies Safety: The EpiPen Dilemma

5 Tips to a Healthier and Happier School Year

Bringing Home Baby: 5 Things Your Pediatrician Wants You to Know

This post is sponsored by the Iowa Clinic.


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