Sleep for children

Nightmares and night terrors

Toddlers often have nightmares (bad dreams that waken them fully and are easily recalled in the morning) or night terrors (dramatic episodes of screaming with eyes open but not awake and without memory of this event in the morning). Both nightmares and night terrors may be triggered by excessive fatigue or stress. Night terrors are generally a disorder of the first sleep cycle of the night, and might be prevented by gently snuggling your child 45 minutes after they fall asleep. The idea is to rouse them just a little, but not enough to wake them all the way, which can “reset” this first sleep cycle and prevent the night terror. If your child has a night terror, keep him safe, don’t wake him up, and put him back to bed as quickly as possible.

Getting up at night

School-age children, who can suffer from disturbed sleep due to anxiety, often seek out their parents at night. Try discussing your child’s fears during the day. And practice relaxation skills for nighttime, ahead of time. Create a sticker chart to reward him for staying in bed. Take your child immediately back to his bed rather than letting him stay in your room.


Bedwetting is common into elementary school years and, sometimes, even into middle school. Bedwetting alarms can help shorten the duration of bedwetting, but are loud and may disturb the rest of the family. The best solution, in our opinion, is to use Pull-ups and limit fluid intake after dinner. Then wait out the problem. If your child wants to have a sleepover and is embarrassed about wearing a Pull-up, talk to us about tablets or nasal sprays that can guarantee one dry night.


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Sleep for teens

The average teenager needs 9 to 10 hours of sleep a night, an hour more than is needed by the average 9 year old. Why?