by Deb Tasi-Cordtz

The importance of SLEEP!!!

Sleep is important for restoring energy and helping children grow and develop. More and more evidence suggests that not enough or poor quality sleep can have a negative effect on a child’s behaviour, learning, health and wellbeing.

Although every child is different, it is recommended that children aged between 5-13 years old get 9-11 hours of sleep per night.  Often it is not about the amount of sleep you are getting but the quality of sleep. 

Below are some ways to improve your child's sleep as suggested by the Ministry of Health:

Bedtime routine

  • Have a regular bedtime routine: this might include your child having a shower, brushing their teeth, then going to bed. Quiet activities, like reading, are good before bed.
  • Have a regular bedtime and wake up time. This will help your child understand when it is time to sleep.
  • If your child is going to bed too late, gradually change this by having them go to bed 30 minutes earlier and get up 30 minutes earlier.
  • Avoid active games, playing outside, and screen use (eg, TV, internet, computer games, etc) in the hour before bedtime. Try dimming the lights earlier.

Sleeping environment

  • Arrange a comfortable sleeping environment for your child. The place where they sleep should be quiet, warm and dark (although a night light is OK).
  • Don’t have any distractions within sight or hearing of the area where children sleep, including TV or any kind of computer screen.


  • Avoid having your child eat a meal within 1 or 2 hours of going to sleep. However, a light snack or a milky drink may help some children.
  • Avoid giving your child food and any drinks that contain caffeine (especially in the afternoon/evening) as this can affect their sleep.

Keeping active

  • It is important for children to be active throughout the day. Activity can also help your child sleep. Time spent in bright sunlight, such as being active outside, can also help children to sleep, but don’t forget to be SunSmart!