For Health Professionals

Sleep Routines Helpful Tips & Resources

Health care professionals should counsel parents on sleep requirements for children and ask about their child’s sleep patterns. Sleep is defined as a natural, periodic state of rest for the mind and body.

Sleep allows for:
  • Consolidation of cognitive performance (which is required for executive functioning, including abstract reasoning, goal-directed behavior, and creative processing)
  • Operation of overnight brain processes thought to influence cognitive, physical, and emotional regulation during the day

Sleep Requirements for Children

Birth-2 months 12-18 hours 5-10 years 10-11 hours
3-11 months 14-15 hours 10-12 years 8.5-9.5 hours


1-3 years 12-14 hours 13-17 years 8.5-9.5 hours
3-5 years 11-13 hours

Health Risks from Inadequate Sleep

Parents should understand the hazards of their child not getting
enough sleep:
  • increased risk of obesity
  • mood disorders
  • childhood overtiredness, which predicts adolescent poor response inhibition, costly behaviors, driving accidents, and alcohol/cigarette/marijuana use in early adulthood
  • mid-adolescent behavior problems such as aggression, depression, anxiety, inattention, overactivity or internalizing problem behavior, and psychosomatic symptoms
  • poor school performance (as measured by teacher ratings, grades, achievement tests, and intelligence tests), learning capacity, and neurobehavioral function

Handouts & Resources

If you need more resources to help educate your parents and patients, go to our resources section for health professionals.
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