How to Help Kids Get Enough Sleep
Take bedtime seriously. Set a firm bedtime and stick to it. Don't let your kids get jobs or take part in after-school activities that keep them out too late. Build your weekly schedules around having enough time for sleep.
Keep gadgets out of the bedroom. That means no TV -- and no laptops, phones, or tablets either.
"Have a rule that all gadgets stay plugged in on the kitchen counter at night," Mindell says. "That goes for the parents too, not just the kids."
Beyond the stimulation of getting texts all night, bright screens in a dark room can make it harder to sleep. Looking at them can trick the brain into thinking it’s still daytime -- that delays the release of chemicals that make you sleepy.
Encourage your teen to make sleep a priority. The average high school senior gets only 7 hours of sleep a night, a few hours less than they need.
As best you can, help your teen wind down at night. Letting them sleep in a little on the weekends is all right, Mindell says. But don't let them sleep past 9 or 9:30 a.m. "If they sleep until noon, they're going to start every week feeling jetlagged," she says.
Limit caffeine. Make sure your kids know to stay away from drinks with caffeine. Not only can caffeine wreck sleep and be bad for kids’ heart health, but caffeinated drinks like energy drinks, some sodas, and fancy coffees can have loads of sugar. Caffeine can lurk in unexpected places, too, like chocolate.
Exercise. If you want your kids to sleep better at night, get them moving. Kids who exercise fall asleep faster than inactive kids. They stay asleep longer, too. Aim to make sure they get 60 minutes of active play a day.