We’ve reached out to the BC Children's Sleep Program to help bust some common myths about sleep.
Reality: The amount of sleep we need is different for everyone and changes as children grow older.
Typically, most children (ages 5-13) need between 9-11 hours of sleep a night. Most teens need around 8-10 hours of sleep a night to function at their best. Many teens do not get enough sleep.
The Canadian Paediatric Society has a general guide on the amount of sleep children and teens need over a 24-hour period, including naps.
Reality: Ever wonder why teenagers tend to stay up late and sleep in on weekends? Young people experience changes to their natural sleep cycle as they age, usually with the onset of puberty.
Teenager’s biological clocks naturally shift (hardwired) towards staying up later and waking up later. Although their bedtime may shift to later, it’s still important to keep to a regular sleep and wake time.
Reality: Just avoid strenuous physical activity too close to bedtime, so their bodies have enough time to relax.
It’s important to make sure your child gets daily exercise. Children who are active during the day fall asleep faster at night, sleep better, and stay asleep longer.
Even small amounts of regular exercise can help your child enjoy a better night’s sleep! For added benefit, get outside for a dose of sunshine during the day, which may help your child sleep better at night.
Reality: In children, sleepiness can increase problems with focus, productivity and self-regulation.
For children with ADHD, poor sleep (too little sleep or symptoms of sleep disorders) can make their symptoms of ADHD worse.
Try improving sleep with the help of your child’s doctor before starting or increasing medication for ADHD.