Sleep may be the most important tool nature uses to grow a child’s brain. During sleep the brain makes new connections, stores memories, and repairs cells. There is even something called sleep-dependent learning, which means that a person consolidates learning as he/she sleeps. Sleep is an essential part of wiring the brain and learning.

Here is some advice for establishing good sleep:

–  No TV or technology/devices in the bedroom
–  Turn off and remove blue light (all screens, including cell phones) for at least an hour before bedtime; no devices in bed.
–  Avoid large meals right before bed
–  Keep the bedroom, or at least the bed, only for sleeping
–  No vigorous exercise for at least an hour before bedtime, keep things calm and low-key before bed
–  Set up a “going-to-bed” routine that takes 30-45 minutes
–  Keep your child moving forward during the routine, redirect as necessary
–  Conclude bedtime routine with a ritual enjoyable to the child (a story or song)
–  End the routine with “goodnight” and the child in bed alone, drowsy but awake (so he/she doesn’t think they need you present to fall asleep)


–  If a child calls you back in or leaves his/her bedroom, minimize engagement and redirect towards sleep
–  Maintain consistency, following the same routine and schedule
–  Keep rewards positive – praise and affection work well
–  Write out the sleep schedule/bedtime routine to help your child follow the steps.

Sarah Caudle, PA-C