Why Developing Healthy Sleep Habits is a Vital Part of Child Development

Why Developing Healthy Sleep Habits is a Vital Part of Child Development

September 9, 2022

Sleep may seem like a simple part of every person’s daily routine, but it’s actually a vital part of your body’s biological processes. For children, the amount of rest they get can impact them physically, mentally, and academically, to name a few. Once you understand the importance of sleep and how it can benefit your child’s development, the more likely your children are to succeed.
How Much Sleep Does My Child Need?
The amount of sleep a child needs can vary as they age, but recent studies have set a foundational guideline to help parents make sure their children are getting the proper amount of rest that they need:

  • 0-3 months old: 14 – 17 hours
  • 4-11 months old: 12-15 hours
  • 1-2 years old: 11-14 hours
  • 3-5 years old: 10-13 hours
  • 6-13 years old: 9-11 hours
  • *hours include nighttime sleep and naps.
    Please note that every child is different, so while one 3-year-old child may need a total of 13 hours of sleep, another child may be just fine off of 9 or 10 hours of sleep. Be sure to monitor your child’s behavior and level of fatigue to determine the best amount of sleep they need.

What Are The Benefits Of Proper Sleep?

The benefits of proper sleep and established sleeping habits are like the gift that keeps giving:

  • Higher Attentiveness – When you have had a proper amount of sleep, the neurons in your child’s brain can effectively communicate with one another; however, if your child is sleep deprived, these neurons lose steam, causing your child to struggle to focus on tasks and remember concepts and details.
  • Improved School Performance – As previously mentioned, proper sleep equates to a higher level of attentiveness. When students can be more attentive and engaged in school, their grades are more likely to improve.
  • Emotional Regulation – Research has proven that both children and adults who lack an adequate amount of sleep are more likely to experience anger, frustration, sadness, and other negative emotions. A consistent lack of sleep can also lead to depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.
  • Strengthened Immune System – When you are asleep, your body produces cytokines, which help aid in sleep and help fight off inflammation, infections, and stress in the body. Also, with rest, your body is able to produce antibodies and cells that help fight off diseases. Without proper sleep, your body can’t produce enough of these cytokines, cells, and antibodies to fight off illness, leaving your immune system vulnerable to diseases.
  •  Improved Physical Health – Not having enough sleep can put kids more at risk of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure

How Can I Develop A Bedtime Routine?

The best way to help your child get a good night’s rest every night is to establish a solid routine for them. Establishing this routine requires a few foundational steps:


The time you choose for your child to go to bed is the most crucial part of your sleep routine planning. The time you select will determine how the rest of your day needs to flow so your child can remain consistent with this schedule. It’s okay to fall behind schedule sometimes, but try to stay as close to your intended time as possible.


Ensuring that your child has a good meal in a timely fashion is another vital part of the sleep routine. If a child has not had proper nourishment or feels overly full before going to bed, the process of falling asleep will be more difficult. Also, avoid caffeine, sweets, sodas, or anything you know will give your child a burst of energy before bedtime.


Create a comfortable, safe, and soothing environment for your child to fall asleep in. Remove any distractions, such as a loud television, distracting toys, or even objects or sounds that scare your child from the room. When a child has the right environment to fall asleep in, they are more likely to remain asleep and have a more restful slumber.


Make sure to allow time for your child to wind down before bed. This is the perfect opportunity for you and your child to read a story, listen to soft music, and even perform a calming breathing exercise or stretches. On average, children can fall asleep within 20-30 minutes, so make sure to incorporate these into your routine.

Tips For Helping Your Child Have A Good Night’s Sleep

Be Consistent – Consistency is the key to success when it comes to a nighttime routine. Not only should you keep the time your child goes to sleep consistent, but also the activities that your child does leading up to bedtime. This includes brushing teeth, taking a bath, reading a
book, or whatever you and your child regularly do before bed. This helps your child’s body get used to the routine and naturally prepare for bed.

Turn Off Those Devices – This can be a challenge for some parents, but it can be very beneficial if done correctly and consistently. Make it a habit to deny a child access to devices at least an hour before bedtime. Devices like phones, computers, and games constantly stimulate a child’s brain and, if not appropriately managed, can negatively impact a child’s ability to relax and focus. No devices allow a child’s mind to settle and prepare to relax for bed.

Lead By Example – Children commonly follow the patterns of their parents. If you tell your child no devices should be used an hour before bed, you should try to do this also. This encourages your child to stick with the routines and gives them fewer excuses to make when they don’t want to prepare for bed.

Designate The Bed For Sleep Only – Many children use their beds for many different things – homework, games, playing with friends – but this can sometimes disrupt the sleeping process because a child’s brain isn’t associating their bed with just sleeping. Try to encourage your child to sit in a different part of their room for activities or leave their room altogether and do these activities in other places. This way, when they enter their rooms, their body and mind understand that it’s time for bed.


As parents, we understand how it feels when we haven’t gotten a proper amount of sleep – we’re irritable, get frustrated easily, struggle to focus on and accomplish simple tasks, and more. If we feel this way as adults, how do we expect our children to feel when they don’t get proper rest? Establishing a solid routine and healthy sleeping habits will help our children become the best they can be mentally, physically, and emotionally.

For more information about ESA, and to find out why we offer the perfect solution to meet your child’s early childhood development needs, please contact us at (662)694-9594 or (662)617-8303.  You can also email us at empoweredforlifeinc@gmail.com.  Contact us today!

We currently have 2 locations to conveniently serve you:

ESA Starkville

732 Whitfield St

Starkville, MS 39759

“It is vain for you to rise up early, To sit up late, To eat the bread of sorrows; For so He gives His beloved sleep. - Psalm 127:2”

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