In this section
We spend around a third of our lives asleep; it’s a time
when our bodies do lots of growing, repairing and restoring. The early years of
life are a peak period for growth and development, and quality sleep is
Supporting kids to get the amount of sleep and the sort of quality sleep they need can help them to be healthier and happier.
You may not be in the homes of the children you teach at
bedtime, but you do see the results when children do not get the sleep they
need. Educators can help children and their families to learn about the
importance of sleep and to put in place some simple steps to support good
Sleep follows standard patterns
We all cycle between deep sleep and light sleep during the night.
In deep sleep, essential hormones for growth and development are released and the blood supply to our muscles increases. It is very hard to wake someone when they’re in this cycle. In light sleep, our breathing and heart rate are irregular and our body is still. This is also the time when we dream.
Helping young children to get quality sleep: early childhood educators
Sleep and the early years of school: early primary teachers
Helping your child to get the sleep they need: parents
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Lots of different things can make sleep difficult: children
can feel anxiety and worry, or they might only fall asleep with a particular
person nearby, or with the television on.
Establishing a good bedtime routine and sleep habits is
known as sleep hygiene. For children
to get the quality sleep they need for learning and development, encourage
How much sleep do kids
At different ages, we need different amounts of sleep. Take a look at the graph on this page. You might be surprised by how much sleep the average child needs for healthy
A bad night’s sleep can happen for lots of reasons. When
children consistently get poor quality sleep, or less sleep than they need, it
can have a serious effect on their ability to get the most out of each day in
terms of play and learning.
Reference: Quach J, Hiscock H, Ukoumunne OC, Wake M. A brief sleep intervention improves outcomes in the school entry year: A randomised controlled trial. Pediatrics published online 19 September 2011.