Why Are Sleep and Rest Important for Children?

According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep and rest are essential for children because they directly impact physical and mental development. Inadequate sleep can lead to mood swings as well as behavioral and cognitive problems.

Sleep is important for children of all ages, says the National Sleep Foundation. Newborns sleep a total of 10 to 18 hours a day; by the time they are toddlers, they sleep 12 to 14 hours a day including naps. Once children reach school age, they need 10 to 11 hours of sleep each night; however, this may be difficult to achieve because they are bombarded with new responsibilities and distractions.

Sleep problems and disorders, such as night terrors, are prevalent from ages 5 to 12, according to the National Sleep Foundation. To maintain a healthy sleep schedule for a school-aged child, a parent should emphasize the need for regular sleep and a bedtime routine.

The National Sleep Foundation states that a child's bedroom should be dark, cool and quiet to create a calm environment and encourage sleep. Televisions, computers, and other electronic devices should be kept out of the bedroom, as they provide distractions that could detract from sleep. Children should also avoid caffeine because it can disrupt their sleep schedules by making them stay up later than usual.