Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Children's and parenting health centre

Select An Article

Sleep problems in children

Children and teenagers need at least nine hours of sleep per night. Sleep problems and a lack of sleep can have negative effects on a child’s performance at school, during extracurricular activities and in social relationships.

A lack of sleep may cause:

  • Accidents and injuries
  • Behaviour problems
  • Mood problems
  • Memory, concentration, and learning problems
  • Performance problems
  • Slower reaction times

Signs of sleep problems in children

Seek medical advice if your child shows any of the following signs of a sleep problem:

  • Snoring
  • Breathing pauses during sleep
  • Problems with sleeping through the night
  • Difficulty staying awake during the day
  • Unexplained decrease in daytime performance
  • Unusual events during sleep

Tips for helping your child's sleep problem

  • Establish a regular time for bed each night and do not vary from it. Similarly, the waking time should not differ from weekday to weekend by more than one to one and a half hours
  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine, such as giving your child a warm bath or reading a story
  • Do not give children any food or drinks with caffeine less than six hours before bedtime
  • Make sure the temperature in the bedroom is comfortable and that the bedroom is dark
  • Make sure the noise level in the house is low
  • Avoid giving children large meals close to bedtime
  • Make after-dinner playtime a relaxing time as too much activity close to bedtime can keep children awake
  • There should be no television, radio, or music playing while the child is going to sleep
  • Infants and children should be put to bed when they appear tired but still awake - rather than falling asleep in the parent's arms, or in another room. Parents should avoid getting into bed with a child in order to get them to sleep. If this is difficult, seek medical advice.
Next Article:

WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on September 11, 2017

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

How to help headache pain
rash on skin
Top eczema triggers to avoid
Causes of fatigue & how to fight it
Tips to support digestive health
woman looking at pregnancy test
Is your body ready for pregnancy?
woman sleeping
Sleep better tonight
Treating your child's cold or fever
fifth disease
Illnesses every parent should know
spoonfull of sugar
Surprising things that harm your liver
woman holding stomach
Understand this common condition
What your nails say about your health