The importance of sleep for children and young people

Umair EKINews & Events

As our Reptonians have now confidently settled into the routine of the new academic year, their minds and bodies are readjusting after the long summer break. Sleep plays a crucial role in your child’s physical and mental development, more so when they are thinking carefully about their learning and social interactions every day. 

We all know the benefits of a good night’s sleep. We feel more energised, refreshed, creative and able to maintain positive relationships with others. Your child needs that more than we do as adults in order to give their minds and bodies time to rest and recuperate after the long days at school and after school activities. Quality sleep at night also helps children to retain the information and learning from the day. During non-REM sleep, the body’s energy is restored, growth and repair occurs and important brain development hormones are released. 

It is recommended, by, that all children of Junior school age (4-11) should have between 10-12 hours of sleep per night. Children of Senior School age are encouraged to get at least 9 hours of sleep and children for all ages can be helped by a consistent bedtime routine each night. The switching off of devices at least an hour before bed, creating a habit of brushing their teeth and then reading a book, with a family member or on their own, prepares the mind for rest in the best possible way. Other sleep hygiene tips include: 

• Maintaining a healthy diet 
• Making the bedroom a no-screen zone, even during the day 
• Setting the room temperature slightly cooler than you usually would 
• Using black out curtains or a night light if they are scared of the dark 

Whilst it may be difficult to introduce and maintain structured sleep habits, instilling healthy sleep behaviours has unrivalled long-term benefits for children and adults alike. There are many ways of supporting children with their development through early life but sleep is the building block and foundation of it all. 

Mr. B. Fox 

JS Deputy Head Pastoral