The Importance of Sleep for Kids: Tips for Creating a Sleep-Friendly Environment

help kids sleep

As parents, one of our most significant responsibilities is ensuring our children get enough sleep. A lack of sleep affects a child’s attitude and conduct and can have long-term consequences for their health and development. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the importance of sleep for kids, answer questions such as “What helps kids sleep” or “How to get kids to sleep, ” and provide tips for creating a sleep-friendly environment. 

Risks of Insufficient Sleep for Children and Adults

We all know that sleep is vital for our health and well-being. Research shows insufficient sleep can affect our immune function, glucose tolerance, and hormone levels. For children, getting less than 9.25 hours of sleep per night can increase their risk of cardiometabolic problems. Getting only eight or fewer hours of sleep per night can be an independent risk factor for hypertension in children. These studies highlight the importance of getting enough sleep for adults and children. 

In a study, getting enough sleep is crucial for children’s healthy growth and development. It has physical and mental benefits and is vital for overall well-being. However, many parents and children need help to get enough sleep, making it a common household challenge. This highlights the need for more effective education programs to help families improve their sleep habits. Educators can use the Social Cognitive Theory framework to guide behavior change efforts in family-based interventions. It’s essential to establish healthy sleep habits, considering the benefits and risks of sleep. 

The Importance of Sleep for Kids

Sleep is critical for a child’s physical and emotional well-being. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, newborns need 14-17 hours of sleep daily, infants need 12-16 hours, toddlers need 11-14 hours, and preschoolers need 10-13 hours. School-aged children require 9-12 hours of sleep, and teenagers need 8-10 hours.

Sleep plays a critical role in a child’s physical and cognitive development. During sleep, the body releases hormones necessary for a child’s physical growth. Additionally, sleep is vital for brain development and learning. A lack of sleep can lead to behavioral issues, trouble focusing in school, and decreased academic performance. 

Common Sleep Disorders in Children

Here are some of the most common sleep disorders in children:

          This disorder occurs when a child’s breathing is disrupted while sleeping, causing them to wake up momentarily several times during the night. 

  • Insomnia

          Insomnia is when a child has difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. 

  • Narcolepsy

          Narcolepsy is an uncommon disorder in which a youngster sleeps excessively during the day and may even fall asleep suddenly. 

          Restless leg syndrome is when a child experiences uncomfortable sensations in their legs, causing them to move frequently and interrupt their sleep. 


Learn more about sleep problems in children and how to address them by reading our dedicated blog post, “Sleeping Problems in Children: What Parents Can Do”. 

Tips for Creating a Sleep-Friendly Environment

Creating a sleep-friendly atmosphere is crucial to ensuring your child gets enough rest. From establishing a consistent bedtime routine to using natural sleep remedies for toddlers, there are various ways to ensure your child’s sleep environment is conducive to sleep. 


1. Establish a Consistent Bedtime Routine

Establishing a consistent bedtime routine is one of the most effective ways to help kids sleep. This routine should include bathing, brushing teeth, reading a book, and saying goodnight. By following the same pattern every night, your child’s body will learn to recognize when it’s time to sleep. 

2. Limit Screen Time Before Bed

Blue light from electronic gadgets can reduce the synthesis of melatonin, a hormone that governs sleep. Limit your child’s screen time before bed to ensure that their body can produce enough melatonin to help them fall asleep. 

3. Create a Relaxing Environment

A peaceful, dark, and quiet setting is ideal for sleeping. To block off light, use blackout curtains or shades, and consider using a white noise machine to drown out any outside noise. Additionally, ensure your child’s bed and bedding are comfortable and supportive. 

4. Use Natural Sleep Remedies

If your child has trouble sleeping, consider using natural sleep remedies for kids. The lavender essential oil has been shown to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality. A warm bath with Epsom salts can also help relax the body and promote sleep. 

5. Develop Healthy Sleep Habits

Encourage your child to develop healthy sleep habits. This includes avoiding caffeine, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet. Additionally, ensure your child’s sleep environment is conducive to sleep by avoiding stimulating activities before bed. 

6. Address Sleep Problems Early

If your child constantly has trouble sleeping, it’s essential to address it early. Consult your child’s physician to assess any underlying medical concerns affecting your child’s sleep problems. Additionally, a sleep specialist may be able to provide additional guidance on how to help your child sleep. 


Discover more tips and tricks to help your child sleep with ease through our blog post entitled “When and How to Sleep Train Your Baby”. 


FAQs about Toddler Sleep Tips: 

What are some effective ways to establish a bedtime routine for my toddler?

  • A consistent bedtime routine is vital to helping your toddler get the restful sleep they need. Some practical ways to do this include setting a regular bedtime, winding down before bed with quiet activities like reading or a bath, and avoiding stimulating activities like TV or video games before bedtime. 

Are there any natural sleep remedies that are safe for toddlers?

  • Yes, several natural sleep remedies are safe for toddlers. These include using essential oils like lavender or chamomile, giving your toddler a warm bath before bedtime, and using a gentle massage or yoga to help them relax. 

How can I help my toddler stay asleep through the night?

  • If your toddler wakes up frequently during the night, there are several things you can try to help them stay asleep. These include creating a comfortable sleep environment with a cool, dark room and a comfortable mattress, drowning out background sounds using a white noise machine, and establishing a consistent bedtime routine. 


Sleep Better, Live Better: Giving Your Kids the Gift of Restful Nights! 

Getting enough sleep is crucial for a child’s physical and mental health. Creating a sleep-friendly environment and developing healthy sleep habits can help your child get the restful sleep they need. If difficulty sleeping persists, don’t hesitate to seek guidance from a medical professional. You can help your child get the sleep they need to grow and thrive with a little effort. 

If you’re looking for expert advice on creating a sleep-friendly environment for your child, or answering questions such as “how to help kids sleep”, look no further than the Children’s Medical Center of Fresno team. Our experienced pediatricians can guide everything from establishing a consistent bedtime routine to using natural sleep remedies. Don’t let a lack of sleep affect your child’s health and development – contact us today at (559) 455-1500 to schedule a consultation. Plus, with telemedicine, and after-hour and weekend appointments, we make it simple to obtain the treatment you require when you need it. Visit our website at to learn more about our team and book an appointment today! 

Select location to chat with us