We all need different amounts of sleep, but generally speaking the ranges below are what we, and our children, should try to achieve on a regular basis:
- Toddlers ( 1-3 years): 12-14 hours of sleep, once they reach 18 months, naps will decrease to once per day
- Pre-Schoolers (3-5 years): 11-13 hours, they usually lose their nap by age 5
- School-aged Kids (5-12 years): 10-11 hours
- Teens (13-19 years): 9-10 hours
- Adults: 7-9 hours
Your circadian rhythm (sometimes referred to as your sleep/wake cycle) is a natural, internal system that’s designed to regulate feelings of sleepiness and wakefulness over a 24-hour period. This complex timekeeper is controlled by an area of the brain that responds to light, which is why humans are most alert while the sun is shining and are ready to sleep when it’s dark outside. With the end of daylight saving Time, we have to adjust our circadian rhythm accordingly. Here are some tips and tricks to make the adjustment for you and your family.
- Have your child go to bed 15 minutes earlier than they normally do, which will halve the hour difference the internal clock is experiencing. Within a week, they should fully adjust to the new time.
- Begin to limit or eliminate caffeine intake by about 2:30 p.m. Caffeine can stay in your system for 10 hours (this includes energy drinks as well). Check the label on some vitamin waters – they may have caffeine.
- To help your kids go to bed a little earlier, try camomile tea to relax them. It works!
- Do your best to get exercise during the first week of the time change. It’s a transition, and exercise makes a difference in their ability to fall asleep more easily.
- If you are into electronics in the evenings, unplug and power down at least an hour before bed. Relaxing, reading, and getting back into a bedtime routine.