The Vital Role of Sleep

When it comes to mental health and our children, one of the most important questions is, “How are they sleeping?” Sleep is one of the most pivotal needs to support a child’s mental health and overall well-being. Sleep plays a crucial role in everything from a child’s development, ability to learn, attention span, and overall physical health. Have you ever seen how a child behaves when they’re tired versus when they are well-rested? That is the perfect example of how having quality sleep greatly affects one’s ability to regulate their emotions.

Because of the importance of sleep, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has put out guidelines to educate parents and practitioners to ensure children get the correct amount of sleep for their age and development. Is your child getting enough sleep?

How much sleep is needed: See below for the recommended amount of sleep needed, by age group.

Age group Age range Recommended hours of sleep
Infant 4-12 months 12-16 hours (including naps)
Toddler 1-2 years 11-14 hours (including naps)
Preschool 3-5 years 10-13 hours (including naps)
School-age 6-12 years 9-12 hours
Teen 13-18 years 8-10 hours
Adult 18 years and older 7 hours or more

source: Sleep Foundation

There is a correlation between mental health and sleep as research shows that poor sleep leads to poor mental health and vice versa. The statistical link between sleep, mental heath, and screen time is contributing to the largest mental health crisis of our time. In May 2023, the surgeon general issued a warning about the dangers of social media and encouraged our caregivers, teachers and policymakers to work together to create a safer online environment.

Learn more on this important topic by reading the full article.