Remember when we would ask our parents if we could stay up just a bit longer? Well, these days, managing the bedtime routine of kids as well as their sleep schedule has become a real struggle for parents.
Especially when your kid is a preschooler, managing their sleep pattern becomes quite important. So, if you’re scratching your head trying to figure out a standard time for your 5-year-old to head to bed, here’s the answer.
Five-year-old kids should say night-night between 6:45 pm and 8:15 pm, depending on when they wake up. For instance, if your child gets up for school at 7:00 am, then they should head to bed at 8:15 pm. Of course, that’s the short answer, which begs another question.
How Much Should My 5-Year-Old Sleep?
As young children grow, their sleep time also undergoes a shift. But, keep in mind that each child is an individual, so their sleep needs and patterns may vary, which is okay.
Sleep.org recommends 10-13 hours of sleep (including naps) for preschoolers aged 3-5 years. Although, five-year-old kids usually have already come out of the daytime nap habit. So, this factor also affects their sleep time at night.
The Best Bedtime Routine for Children
There is no one-time-fits-all kind of regular bedtime for children, but we cannot deny that a proper shuteye is essential for establishing a healthy routine.
As mentioned earlier, each child’s needs and sleep habits differ, so as a parent, the responsibility of determining a perfect time to promote a quality rest lies on your shoulders. Thus, when you decide to stick to a consistent bedtime routine, consider the time they get up and plan accordingly, i.e. count the hours backward from their wakeup time.
A good way to maintain an earlier bedtime routine is working with a “20-minutes earlier” exercise. Put your child to bed 20 minutes earlier than their regular routine for a few days and watch their behavior. If the child falls asleep quickly, that means they should go to bed before their previous routine sleep time.
To have an easier time doing this, make sure you limit your child’s screen time before going to bed.
Why Is Sleep Important for 5-Year-Olds?
Getting the recommended amount of sleep makes your child ready to go about their day, be it preschool or leisurely activities. When your child is well-rested, they will be happier, have better focus, and will behave well.
Additionally, a good night’s sleep is crucial for your kid to improve their:
- Cognitive performance;
- Learning and memory;
- Motor skills;
- And energy.
What if My Kid Is Not Getting Enough Sleep?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a quarter of 5-year-old children don’t get enough sleep. This is worrying! But, at least you now know that you are not alone, as many other parents are trying to tackle their kids’ sleep problems.
If your child is getting less sleep, it will affect their day-to-day life. In fact, there is a connection between bedtime and sleep duration, and the metabolic health of your child.
Kids who get less sleep are also more prone to obesity. The correlation between excessive weight and a late sleep routine is unclear, but there’s a good chance that the hormonal changes in leptin and ghrelin play a role. Ghrelin is a peptide that regulates short-term appetite, while leptin is a satiety hormone that controls long-term energy balance
Poor sleep and lack of sleep may contribute to other health problems like diabetes, anxiety, depression, and allergic rhinitis.
Here are some signs that indicate that your child is not getting enough sleep:
- Difficulty getting out of the bed in the morning;
- Behavioral issues;
- Difficulty focusing on day-to-day tasks;
- Sleepiness during the day;
- Fussiness (in the afternoon).
5 Reasons Why Your Child Is Not Sleeping Enough
Many different factors may cause sleep disturbances for your child, including their daytime routine, daily sugar intake, activities they do before bedtime, and daytime/afternoon naps.
● Daytime routine: Different things that happen during the day can affect your child’s sleep. For example, they can be so excited, anxious, or restless that they can’t relax at the end of the day.
● Daily sugar intake: When kids consume sugar, their blood sugar levels can rise suddenly and drop just as fast. Their bodies will have to work harder to manage their blood sugar levels, and meanwhile, they release adrenaline – a stress hormone that makes them restless.
● Pre-bedtime activities: Pre-bedtime activities of your kids – especially 90 minutes before their bedtime – affect their sleep the most. For instance, it’s one thing to let your child play video games all the time on an off day, but doing so before sleeping is not a good idea. Cutting down on screen time (in general) right before bedtime is also very important.
● Daytime naps: While daytime naps can prevent your kids from becoming overly tired and are altogether necessary for their wellbeing, excessive napping can also make it harder for them to sleep at night.
Other common reasons why your child is facing sleeping troubles may include:
No Bedtime Routine
Doing the same things every night helps your kid know that it’s time to hit the sack. For instance, you can introduce a bedtime bath, a snack, or a bedtime story into their routine, and then turn off the lights.
This will help your child know what to expect next and get ready for it. However, when it comes to creating a sleep routine, consistency is key.
You Are Their Sleeping Aide
On the other hand, though, when you consistently help your child fall asleep, they create an association between you and their sleep routine. Naturally, the child should grow out of certain aspects of their pre-sleep habits. However, if they don’t, they start seeking help to fall asleep regularly.
The key here is to help them but not make them entirely dependent on you. You can achieve this by gradually toning down bedtime stories, for instance, as they age. That being said, this won’t happen overnight, so remain patient.
Children often suffer from a lack of sleep because of bad dreams. Unless it happens too often, that’s normal. Dreams occur during the REM phase of sleep, and in children’s sleep, it tends to come about after a couple of hours.
To prevent them from developing a “fear of sleep,” you ought to remain vigilant during those first few hours and wake and console them if they’re having nightmares. However, if you think that bad dreams disturb your child’s sleep too often, don’t hesitate to talk about this with their pediatrician.
Walking While Asleep
Some kids sleepwalk. This means that they get up and walk around while they’re asleep. They might mutter or engage in other activities during their sleepwalk.
If it happens, don’t wake up your kid. Instead, gently guide them to their bed and help them sleep again. Again, if this happens too often, consult a professional.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder when your child briefly stops breathing while sleeping. Although it might sound scary, it’s rare in children). Still, it’s important to check it off the list of possible causes.
The causes of sleep apnea are adenoids in the upper airway and large tonsils. The symptoms of the disorder include restless sleep, labored breathing, and loud snoring.
Tips for Creating a Relaxing Sleep Environment
A relaxing sleep environment can improve the chances of your child getting enough sleep. After all, a good night’s sleep is all about adopting healthy sleep habits, and the environment plays a significant role in helping them wind down after a long day.
Below are some ways you can create a positive sleep environment:
- Turn off electronic devices;
- Dim the lights;
- De-clutter the sleeping area;
- Reduce noises and distractions and turn the sleeping space into a quiet place;
- Read a bedtime story;
- Say good night (a good night kiss also won’t hurt);
- No late bedtimes.
Is It Safe to Give Melatonin to a 5-Year-Old?
Using sleep medications like melatonin to help your child sleep is not a good practice, but if it’s essential to administer the drug, 3-6mg of Melatonin is a safe dosage for a 5-year-old.
Why Does My 5-Year-Old Keep Waking up at Night?
If your 5-year-old keeps waking up at night, the reasons might be the room’s temperature (too warm or too cool), hunger, nightmares, and illnesses. Try to identify the potential cause and eliminate it.
How Do I Stop My 5-Year-Old From Waking up at Night?
To stop your 5-year-old from waking up at night, you will have to find the root cause first. Then, you can work on solving the problem. However, sticking to a healthy sleep routine helps solve multiple sleeping problems, including waking up at night.
Getting your child to bed with no fussing about feels like a success, no? To improve their sleep, focus on creating a clean, calm, dark, and relaxed bedtime environment and stick to a routine. Unless the cause is something more serious, putting your child to sleep will become effortless in no time.