For many families, bedtime can be a challenge. Whether your kids don't want to go to bed or are caught in the midst of varying sleep schedules, it may be time to consider a family sleep routine. The benefits of healthy sleep are many, so it's important to make sure all family members are getting their rest.
Busy schedules and the demands of daily living can complicate bedtime. Factors such as getting home late after work, trying to fit in adequate family time, and balancing homework, hobbies or recreation can be a challenge in getting everyone to bed on time.
Different Ages, Different Sleep Requirements
The recommended number of hours of sleep a night for adults is seven to eight hours. Kids need more sleep than adults, but recommendations for nightly sleep will vary depending on age. Even when it doesn't seem fair to your kids, make sure they get to sleep and get the recommended number of hours.
Recommend hours of sleep per 24 hours
|0 to 4 months
||No recommendations due to wide range of sleep patterns
|4 to 12 months
||12 to 16 hours (including naps)
|1 to 2 years
||11 to 14 hours (including naps)
|3 to 5 years
||10 to 13 hours (including naps)
|6 to 12 years
||9 to 12 hours
|13 to 18 years
||8 to 10 hours
Bedtime Routine is Important
The most important element of a family sleep routine is setting a bedtime for each member of the family, appropriate for his or her age. If you're balancing different bedtimes and sleep schedules, age-appropriate bedtime activities can help:
- Reading a book or magazine
- Taking a bath
- Telling stories
Mobile devices and late-night screen time can keep the mind alert. Use of a mobile device before bed is known to decrease sleep quality and duration. Establish a time when your family turns off devices and starts to wind down.
Establishing a healthy routine is for parents, too. Avoid screen time, get adequate rest, and find a phone- or computer-free activity to help you relax. Your kids will notice your energy level. By being rested and alert, you'll have more time to invest in your family.
Remember Sleep Hygiene
Healthy sleep habits will help your family enjoy the routine you put into place. Try these healthy sleep tips:
- Keep your bedroom cool and dark.
- Make sure your house is quiet for all family members.
- Keep bedrooms reserved for rest and relaxation — not work or homework.
- Avoid using television as a night light or background noise for sleep — try a fan or traditional night light instead.
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