7 Bonus Facts About Kids and Sleep

  • Kids who regularly sleep more than 8 to 9 hours tend to have stronger immune systems and get fewer colds.
  • Kids who sleep less than 9 hours a night are more likely to be overweight. One connection: When they're up late, they tend to eat. (Same phenomenon as midnight food raids on college campuses.) Also, not getting enough sleep may throw off their metabolism in ways that make it easier to gain weight.
  • Over-the-counter cold and flu remedies can keep your child awake. Ask your doctor before using these at night.
  • On average, children who drink caffeinated beverages lose 30 minutes of sleep nightly. But kids, like adults, vary in their caffeine sensitivity. If you think it's a sleep issue with your children, try to cut off caffeine after 2 or 3 in the afternoon.
  • Snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea—those episodes of loud snoring and gasping breaths during sleep. Yes, this can happen in kids, not just adults (especially overweight kids). Talk to your doctor.
  • Kids who sleep poorly often have behavior problems and trouble concentrating. Work with your doc to find the cause and solutions. These might include underlying anxiety or depression, which need treatment.
  • Most school-age kids need 10 or 11 hours of sleep each night. Go for that goal. If they get their zzzs, you'll get yours!
Dr. Jennifer Trachtenberg—or Dr. Jen—is RealAge's pediatric expert and the author of The Smart Parent's Guide to Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, and Accidents and Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children. Get more of her advice at

Share your war stories and strategies of success in getting your kids to sleep in the comments area.

Keep Reading:
Dr. Jen's tips for surviving the Children's Tylenol recall
Are your kids burned out?
Dr. Oz investigates America's national sleep problems
As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.


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