Updated: Oct 12
Parenting comes with its fair share of challenges. As every parent knows, a well-rested child is happier and more active, but finding the secret to those uninterrupted nights of sleep can be hard.
We've sat down with Dr. Christian Doce, a pediatrician at Doctor Anywhere, to get guidance and help parents establish better sleep habits for their children.
How much sleep do kids need at different ages?
Dr. Christian explains that there's no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to the amount of sleep children need. "According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, sleep recommendations vary based on age," he notes. "Infants less than one year old require about 12 to 16 hours of sleep, usually achieved through a minimum of four naps. As children grow, the recommended sleep time gradually decreases. Around 1 to 3 years old, it's about 11 to 14 hours; for five-year-olds, it's 10 to 13 hours, and so on. Adolescents aged 13 and up typically need 8 to 10 hours of sleep."
How important does having a regular sleep routine affect children's health and well-being?
"A consistent sleep schedule is essential for your children's overall health and well-being," emphasizes Dr. Christian. "Just like any other pattern in their lives, regularity in sleep promotes normal growth. During sleep, their bodies undergo processes vital for growth. Moreover, a consistent sleep schedule boosts the immune system, restores energy, and enhances their ability to engage in daily activities."
What are the typical sleep challenges that children encounter, and how can parents help solve them?
Drawing from his practice, Dr. Christian highlights two recurring sleep issues among Filipino children. "First, the consistency of the sleep schedule often depends on caretakers. Children might adhere to the recommended sleep schedule when with their parents but struggle when left with grandparents or nannies," he observes. "Another new issue, worsened by the pandemic, is parents working from home. This can disturb children's sleep due to noise and light."
To address these challenges, Dr. Christian offers practical solutions. "Setting the mood for sleep is important. Create a calming environment by dimming lights, using fans or air conditioning, and ensuring proper ventilation," he advises. "A pre-sleep bath can signal the body that it's time to wind down. And don't forget to limit your child’s screen time. Avoid gadgets and screens at least one to two hours before bedtime, as they can interfere with falling asleep."
Creating a better sleep routine for your child begins with being consistent, setting up a calming sleep environment, and managing screen time mindfully. As Dr. Christian wisely suggests, "Take one step at a time, and eventually, these practices will become routine for everyone."
If you need further guidance, see a general practitioner 24/7 on-demand or appointment, or schedule an appointment with a pediatrician through the Doctor Anywhere app. Get the free app on the App Store or Google Play Store to create an account for your child. In the absence of an ID, please use their birth certificate and the "Registry number" as their ID number.
To learn more about kids’ health issues and the support services that are available, visit https://www.doctoranywhere.ph/children-health.