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Sleep Lab

Promoting Sleep Hygiene in Children and Youth

Did you know that sleep is important for your:

Emotions and behaviour

  • Sleep deprivation is related to negative moods like mental distress, depression and anxiety as well as adverse health behaviours such as physical inactivity and poor eating habits

Physical health

  • Short sleep is linked with an increased risk of weight gain, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and premature death

Academic success

  • Not enouh sleep, bad sleep quality, and feeling tired are related to worse school performance

Overall health

  • A good night's sleep is essential for physical and mental health

How much sleep do you really need?

Age Sleep Needs
Newborns (0-2 months) 12-18 hours
Infants (3-11 months) 14-15 hours
Toddlers (1-3 years) 12-14 hours
Preschoolers (3-5 years) 11-13 hours
School-aged children (5-10 years) 10-11 hours
Adolescents (10-17 years) 8.5-9.25 hours
Adults (18-64) 7-9 hours
Elders (³65 years) 7-9 hours

Sleep tips:

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day (even on the weekends!)
  • Avoid caffeine consumption (coffee, soft drinks, chocolate) starting in the late afternoon
  • Avoid drinking alcohol in the evening - it prevents your brain from getting into deep and REM sleep
  • Avoid smoking cigarettes in the evening - it is a stimulant just like caffeine!
  • Expose yourself to bright lights in the morning - sunlight helps the biological clock to reset itself each day
  • Make sure your bedroom is conducive to sleep - your bedroom should be dark, quiet, comfortable and cool
  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillow
  • Exercise regularly during the day at least 3 hours before going to bed
  • Develop a relaxing routine before bedtime - ideas include bathing, music, and reading
  • Don't go to bed feeling hungry, but also don't eat a heavy meal right before bed!
  • Reserve your bedroom for sleeping only - keep cell phones, computers, televisions and video games out of your bedroom

Have you already tried talking to your teen about the importance of sleep but are not seeing any changes?

Here are some tips to increase their motivation:

Set clear and consistent boundaries at home

  • Try working together with your child to set fair bedtime rules

Provide opportunities for participation in decision making

  • Allow your child to take responsibility for their sleep habits by inviting him/her to propose goals and measure progress

Create a safe and respectful family atmosphere

  • A supportive home environment will allow your child to feel validated and promote confidence to take charge of his/her health

Use incentive plans

  • Offering rewards that your child values (for example, fewer household chores) can foster motivation to improve sleep practices

Promote autonomy

  • Try to let your child verbalize the decision to change sleep habits on his/her own. It is important not to impose sleep information or behaviour!
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