How can our family get more high-quality sleep?

High _quality _sleep


Sleep plays a vital role in how we function daily. High-quality sleep allows us to wake with our bodies and minds feeling well rested, restored and attentive.  A good night’s sleep not only keeps us alert, but also improves our health and enhances our psychological functioning. Healthy sleep habits have been proven to lower the risk for obesity, reduce aggression and irritability, increase memory and attention and lead to better school performance. Research shows, for both adults and children, waking up feeling refreshed and energized are key ingredients to a productive day.

Indicators your family is getting enough high-quality sleep:

  • Falling asleep in less than thirty minutes
  • Frequently sleeping for continuous periods, or at least 85% of the night
    • Infants - fourteen to fifteen hours
    • Toddlers - twelve to fourteen hours
    • Preschoolers – eleven to thirteen hours
    • Adolescence and adults - seven to nine hours
  • If a brief awakening occurs, no more than once per night  
  • Being awake/conscious for twenty minutes or less after initially falling asleep

Families have an important role in encouraging children to form healthy sleep habits. A recent study conducted by the University of Illinois suggests that children’s sleep patterns mimic their parents’/guardian’s sleep patterns.  Sleep is essential children’s growth and development allowing the brain to rest to work on forming new connections. Sleep also helps children develop memory and attention skills.

Tips for improving your families sleep quality:

  • Create a bedtime routine and remain consistent – Try going to bed and waking at the same time every day (entire family). This will help set your body clock, allowing you and your family to sleep better at night.
  • Establish a relaxing pre-bedtime routine – Giving your child a bath or reading a story can be a great way to signal its bedtime while allowing them time to wind down. Parents should unwind as well, and can also try a bath and book, soothing music, yoga or meditation  before bedding down.  
  • Watch what you eat – Going to bed hungry or stuffed causes discomfort, and can keep you up at night. Also, avoid caffeinated foods and drinks after 3pm.
  • Cool down and relax – Cool, comfortable and dark environments help stimulate deep and sound sleep.
  • Naps are for the daytime – Afternoon naps decrease your body’s motivation to sleep through the night. Naps should be before 5pm.
    • Typical nap schedule for children:
      • 4 months, three to four naps per day
      • 8 months, two naps per day
      • 21 months, one nap per day

Learn more about healthy childhood development at
ABC Quality is South Carolina’s go-to resource where parents can find great information about child development, child care quality and more. The program is administered by the SC Department of Social Services’ Division of Early Care and Education. 

Search for a child care provider or learn about the state’s voluntary quality rating system for child care providers. 

By ABC Quality Team at 22 Aug 2017, 11:00 AM