“Good Sleep for Good Growth” - New Sleeping Behavior Info Sheet
Sleep problems are common in early childhood. “Good sleep, for Good Growth” is a new sleeping behavior information sheet for parents produced by The Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development and the Strategic Knowledge cluster on Early Child Development. The information sheet outlines early childhood sleeping patterns, stressing that “The difference between a good sleeper and a poor sleeper depends on how easily they can fall back asleep.”
The information sheets starts with “What do we know?”:
- Babies’ sleep alternates between periods of agitation and calm
- It is normal for children to wake up during the night.
- Premature babies are not more likely to have sleep problems than full-term babies.
- Sleep problems are extremely common in early childhood.
- If sleep problems are not taken care of during early childhood (1-5 years) they are likely to persist for a long time.
- Poor sleep in early childhood has a negative effect on brain development, physical growth, behaviour, moods, emotions, memory, success at school and the well-being of the parents and family.
- Children need different amounts of sleep depending on their age:
- Newborns: 16-18 hours out of 24
- 3-4 months: sleep more at night and are awake longer in the day
- 1 year: 10-12 hours a night; tend to take 2 long naps during the day
- 3-10 years: should sleep a minimum of 10-11 hours a night
- The quality of the child’s sleep is influenced by many different factors including genetics, environment and the sleep environment.
The second section offers suggestions to help with children’s sleep patterns:
- Establishing a consistent and predictable bedtime routine to help your child relax and get ready to sleep
- Using strategies to reduce sleep-problem behaviours and to reinforce appropriate ones
- Addressing your child’s fears and anxieties about bedtime, night-time and sleep
Investigating your child’s physical condition to make sure there’s no medical reason for sleep problems.