With Daylight Savings Time beginning again, we thought we’d ask MOST advisor Kelly Ross, MD, for some tips to get your children on the right track.*

Studies show that getting enough sleep reduces childhood injuries and obesity and improves school performance and social success. How much sleep do kids need? Use the chart below as a guide and follow the tips below.

Age Hours of Sleep Needed
1-4 Weeks Old 15 – 16
1-12  Months Old 14 – 15
1-3   Years Old 12 – 14
3-6   Years Old 10 – 12
7-12 Years Old 10 – 11
12-18 Years Old 8 – 9
Adults 7-8.5

1. Make a Bedtime Routine: Try the 4B’s: bath, book, breast/bottle, bed. Repeat nightly (or as much as possible) so your children’s minds and bodies can slow down and transition to sleep. Older kids can read in bed by themselves, or you can read aloud to them.

2. White Noise: Having a white noise machine or fan to create a sound barrier helps children fall asleep and stay asleep. Avoid a TV or radio because they keep the brain alert and lead to poor sleep.

3. Nighttime Tool Kit: Keeping kids in bed is important for sleeping! Children over age 3 can have a box of tissues, a flashlight that turns off when the handle is no longer squeezed, and a cup of water. This allows them to take care of their needs before falling asleep, or if they wake during the night, without getting out of bed to find you.

4. Limit Late Night Activities: Extracurricular activities that end around bedtime can derail good sleep habits. Advocate for activity times that end early enough to allow children sufficient time to transition to sleep.

*Adapted from Dr. Ross’s November 2012 article on ChildrensMD.org.