Tips for parents

At what time should you put your child to bed?

31 December 2021

As we approach the holiday season, students might get off track spending too much time at home and this seems like a good opportunity to address students’ sleep requirements. Many different challenges present themselves when parents first decide to send their children to school. One of the more challenging problems is establishing a regular sleeping pattern for them to follow. Here are some tips that will help you plan the right routine. First of all, we are going to examine the nature of sleep, and the sheer necessity of it. Then, we categorise students based on their age group and devise a plan for each group with the goal of satisfying every student’s biological sleep time needs. There are many more tactics on how to control the amount of sleep your children should get. But, in the end keep in mind that no matter your efforts, some children won’t easily find their routine. Therefore, sometimes you must meet them halfway.

What are the stages of sleep? 

When you fall asleep during the night, your body and your brain go through several rounds of sleep cycles. Every cycle takes roughly about 90 minutes to complete. So, for a student to get 6 full cycles of sleep, they should sleep for at least 9 hours. Each cycle consists of 4 main stages; the first three stages are non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep and the last stage is called rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Ideally, you’d want to wake up at the end of a cycle not in the middle of one.


Age influence 

For children, as for adults, respecting the required sleep time determined here is essential for long term health. For instance, the duration of sleep should be much longer for a teenager than for an adult. In 2015, the Sleep Foundation analysed more than 300 scientific articles on this subject. The Foundation concluded that the necessary rest time for children aged 6 to 12 is between 9 and 12 hours. For adolescents between 13 and 18 years old, this essential sleep time is reduced to between 8 and 10 hours per day.


Wake up time matters more than bedtime

Remember, there is no set time when your child must be under the duvet, ready to sleep. And that’s rather good news. The first step in knowing what time your child should go to bed is knowing when they wake up. And the answer to that will be different depending on the day of the week, whether he is going to school or not, etc.

To summarise, by calculating how many sleep cycles a student needs in a certain age group, mapping out their wake-up time every day and subtracting the said amount of sleep, we can easily figure out each student’s bedtime. For example, A 9-year-old who gets up at 7 a.m. to go to school will need to be in bed between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.


Adapt to your child’s pace 

The example above highlights the importance of the hourly interval. In fact, scientists do not suggest a fixed amount of sleep based on age, because every individual is different. Just like adults, some children are very heavy sleepers while others are not. It is very easy to spot the rhythm of your toddler. Particularly during the weekends when the mandatory wake up time no longer exists.

A 9-year-old, going to bed at 8 p.m. and always waking up at 6 a.m., only needs 10 hours of sleep. In that case, if the weekday wake-up time is scheduled for 7:00 am, it means he is going to bed a little too early and that you could potentially let him stay up until 9 p.m.

In other words, all you have to do is adapt to your children. You know them better than anyone and you can tell whether they are tired or not. A rested child will be healthier, happier and more able to adapt to his daily life, especially at school.