Are you getting enough sleep?

sleepDo not neglect your sleep.  Lack of sleep, not only makes one irritable but is a known cause of stress related illness, poor attention, and challenges with mental health.

Parents, it is up to you to be aware of your child or teen’s sleep and occasionally an adjustment may be needed.  I recall having to shut down the Internet at certain hours or  take away a child’s phone so they were not up at all hours on the phone.  Bed time is one thing, but is your child getting to sleep?  Melatonin is generally well tolerated and besides helping with calming and getting to sleep, a long acting melatonin can be used for those who have challenges with waking in the middle of the night.  The safety of melatonin in pregnancy and infants is not clear to me, so best avoided in those situations.

Sometimes there is need for an actual sleep evaluation.  There is a growing specialty in sleep medicine, and if in doubt, check with your physician.

Often our teens these days are drinking or eating too much caffeine or other stimulants that leave them wide wake and unable to fall asleep.  I have found over the years, the best way to get regular good sleep is to have a consistent bed time and wake up time.  

Below is an interesting article that also gives estimates of how much sleep we all should get:


Getting Your Snooze On
By Dr. Francis Collins, on December 28th, 2012

 Have trouble sleeping? If so, you’re not alone. At least 40 million Americans suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorders, and another 20 million have occasional problems. Many more (including me) just don’t seem to find enough hours in the day and night to get adequate sleep.

Lack of sleep has been linked to a variety of health conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. Sleep deprivation can also affect alertness and reflexes. And that can be lethal—tired drivers cause an estimated 100,000 motor vehicle accidents and 1,500 vehicle-related deaths each year.

So, how much sleep do you really need? While there’s a lot of individual variation based on age, health status, and genetic factors, average daily sleep needs are:

Babies 16 to 18 hours
Preschoolers 11 to 12 hours
School-age children 10 hours
Teens 9 to 10 hours
Adults 7 to 8 hours

And a special note for expectant parents: women often need several extra hours of sleep during the first three months of pregnancy.


Dr. Paul


  • Julie

    How can I best support my 5 and a half month year old to get longer naps and reach the average amount of 16 hours of sleep. She sleeps on average 8 and then 2 hours of sleep each night and then naps can be between 1 and 3 hours. I would like to support her to get more sleep especially when she protests the naps. Should I be lying her down awake and letting her cry?

  • Remember these are just guidelines. Two of my kids never slept anywhere close to these amounts. I don’t think drying it out makes sense at this age – especially for naps. Just provide a quiet no stimulation hour or two when you are thinking naps should happen and if they don’t – I wouldn’t worry.

  • Pingback: Some Advice on How to Sleep Well | Rose of Sharon Healing

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