Healthy sleep tips for children

Good sleep is important for your child's physical and mental wellbeing.

A relaxing bedtime routine is one important way to help your child get a good night's sleep.

Relaxation tips to help sleep

Doing the same relaxing things in the same order and at the same time each night helps promote good sleep: 

  • A warm (not hot) bath will help your child relax and get ready for sleep.
  • Keeping lights dim encourages your child's body to produce the sleep hormone, melatonin.
  • Once they're in bed, encourage your child to read quietly or listen to some relaxing music, or read a story together.
  • You could also suggest your child tries this relaxing breathing exercise before bed.

Know how much sleep your child needs

The amount of sleep your child needs changes as they get older.

A 5-year-old needs about 11 hours a night, for example, while a 9-year-old needs roughly 10 hours.

See how much sleep your child needs.

Avoid screens in the bedroom 

Tablets, smartphones, TVs and other electronic gadgets can affect how easily children get to sleep.

Older children may also stay up late or even wake in the middle of the night to use social media.

Try to keep your child's bedroom a screen-free zone, and get them to charge their phones in another room.

Encourage your child to stop using screens an hour before bedtime.

Your child's bedroom

Your child's bedroom should ideally be dark, quiet and tidy. It should be well ventilated and kept at a temperature of about 18 to 24C.

Fit some thick curtains to block out any daylight. If there's noise outside, consider investing in double glazing or, for a cheaper option, offer your child earplugs.

Get help with sleep problems

If you've tried these tips but your child keeps having problems getting to sleep or sleeping through the night, you may feel you want more support.

You can speak to your GP or health visitor to begin with. They may refer you to a child psychologist or another expert.

Teens and sleep

Your child's sleep may change when they become a teenager. Find out why teenagers are always tired.

Page last reviewed: 31/10/2017

Next review due: 31/10/2020

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