Monday, February 5, 2018

Baby and Child Sleep: Sample Schedules from 6 months to 5 years old

Does it seem like just when you have your baby on the "perfect schedule" - it changes?  I hear that a lot from my clients.  As your baby develops and grows, their sleep needs change too.  Keeping up with these changes can be hard for parents.  

I have put together all of my sleep schedules for you, across each age group so you can have them in one place.  These are the same handouts I provide to my clients and that I share when I speak to MOPS and Mom's groups across Orange County.

Both the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) and the NSF (National Sleep Foundation) have published new sleep recommendations which give a range of hours within a 24 hour period.  

Where is my child's range?

I find it most helpful for parents to know how much sleep is needed for naps and night sleep. Therefore day and night sleep are noted separately on the sleep schedules below.

It is also very important to keep in mind that their is "at least a 1-hour variance" each direction on the numbers noted on each sleep schedule.   I recommend you use the numbers as a guide and follow your child's sleep cues, along with their behavior to know if your child is getting enough sleep.

6-8 Months

At this age, babies need an average of eleven hours of uninterrupted nighttime sleep and three and a half hours of daytime naps spread over two to three naps.

From six through eight months, babies become more mobile. They roll over, sit up, maybe even stand holding on to something. Many scoot or crawl, and the first teeth come in. Most babies sleep through the night fairly regularly but if yours doesn’t, it is still quite easy to get them on track.

Download - Sleep Schedule and Tips For Your Six to Nine Month Old

9-12 Months

Nine to twelve month old babies on average need eleven hours of sleep at night and three during the day. At nine months, babies should nap for about an hour and a half in the morning and about one and a half to two hours in the afternoon. 

Most have given up that brief, third late-afternoon nap. By twelve months, the morning nap is about an hour, and the afternoon nap is about an hour and a half.

13-18 Months

At this age toddlers need an average of eleven and a quarter hours of uninterrupted sleep at night and two and a quarter to two and a half hours during the day. Children at the younger end of this age bracket take two naps, in the morning and afternoon, but by eighteen months most consolidate to one midday or afternoon nap. 

Young toddlers are prone to behavioral sleep problems. Their increased mobility (including walking), a peak in separation anxiety around the first birthday, transition to one nap and emotional attachment to such objects as bottles and pacifiers can all complicate bedtime and contribute to nighttime awakenings. 

18-30 Months

An eighteen month old on average sleeps eleven and a quarter hours at night and two and a quarter hours during one midday or afternoon nap.

At age two
, sleep requirements drop to eleven hours at night and two during the day. Over the next year that will drop to ten and a half hours at night and one and a half during the day. Remember these are averages but variations should not be huge. Watch your child’s daytime behavior for clues to whether he or she needs more sleep.

2 1/2 to 5 Years

Between ages two and three, average sleep needs drop to about ten and a half hours a night, plus an hour-and-a-half afternoon nap.

Four year olds
need eleven and a half hours at night, and most no longer nap daily, although they do need about forty-five minutes of quiet time each afternoon and possibly an occasional nap.

Five year olds
sleep about eleven hours a night, and afternoon quiet time is still beneficial. 

Would you like All of the Sleep Schedules?  Download them here

Sweet Dreams,
Michelle S. Donaghy

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Top Sleep Blogs of 2017

As we start a New Year, let's look back at the top blogs of 2017.

#3 - Is my toddler ready to drop to one nap

Knowing when it’s time for your baby to make a change and drop a nap is no easy task.  Not to mention most Mom's tell me: "I'm not not ready for less day sleep!"  Read through this blog for tips on how to keep the two nap schedule for longer and if it really is the best time to drop a nap.

#2 - Early Rising

Not surprising early rising is on this list as it is the second most common question I get, next to night wakings.  Early rising is also the last stage of sleep to be learned so it's more difficult to fix, especially if independent sleep at bedtime hasn't been established.

#1 - Schedules, Naps and Awake Windows

This blog was the all time most viewed MSD Baby Sleep blog!  Not surprising as a child's sleep changes every few months.  Staying on top of how much sleep your baby or child needs is a daunting tasks.  This blog also includes a recommendation on how to time naps to ensure your child is well rested.

Happy New Year to you and your family!  May the New Year bring you health, peace, happiness and more sleep!

Written By: Michelle S. Donaghy, founder of MSD Baby Sleep Coach and Certified Gentle Sleep Coach

Monday, December 4, 2017

Article featured in: VoyageLA Magazine – LA's Most Inspiring Stories

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michelle S. Donaghy.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.

I live in Orange County with my husband of 18 years, my two girls, ages 13 and 9 and our three large dogs.
My formal education is in psychology and social work, specializing in families and children. At that time, I didn’t know that a sleep coach existed nor what was an essential oil. After graduate school I worked for a small to medium size software company and during the 10 years I was employed in the corporate world, I was fortunate to work in marketing, recruitment, special projects and right hand to the company CEO. It was a wonderful learning experience to work alongside the head of the company as she grew her small business to a successful medium business with a culture that was focused on sound principles. She was an early mentor!
I was blessed to be able to work from home for a majority of the time and when my first child was born, I had it all planned out – I would work when she slept. Those hopes were quickly squashed as she was not a good sleeper as newborn. The only parenting book I had read, at that time, was of the methodology that stated to teach your child to sleep – you put them in their crib at sleep times, walk away and eventually they will stop crying.
The Psychologist and Social Worker in me knew there had to be a better option. As a new mother, I was not comfortable with that method. I set upon a quest to read every sleep book I could get my hands on. My research discovered that there were many gentle options to help teach a child independent sleep skills. I quickly became obsessed with understanding infant sleep patterns.
I stumbled upon a volunteer led parenting sleep forum where I could get help for our sleep struggles. Our sleep issues were soon resolved with a gentle sleep coaching method with help from other parents at the sleep forum. I was asked to be a moderator of this site and moved into to helping other struggling parents. I spent over a year as a moderator helping hundreds of families with sleep issues, scheduling difficulties and night feeding dilemmas. I enjoyed this work very much and I was very good at it, it was as if I had a natural instinct on what the problem was and how to fix it.
In 2008, shortly after our second daughter was born I was laid off from my role at the software company. A few months after that, I stumbled upon a new training program that was being launched where I could be certificated as a Gentle Sleep Coach, specializing in infants and children. I knew without a doubt that I had to do it! I was one of the first 50 to graduate from the program which included over 95 hours of basic training and to date I have over several 100 hours of advanced and continuing education.
I started my practice in late 2008.
In 2012, I began incorporating the use of doTERRA essential oils for health care and well-being into my practice. My family had amazing results from using essential oils for our health care needs and it was a natural progression to share my knowledge with my clients. I now lead a large team of women who want to work from home so they can be with their family and have a passion for helping others to take charge of their health and that of their loved ones.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?

It has not been an easy road! Starting a private practice from the ground up is never easy. In the early years, gaining new clients and marketing was a struggle. I used every marketing strategy I learned during my time in the corporate workforce to get my name out to potential clients. I offered free talks, partnered with any business whose main clientele was mothers of young children, offered group workshops, I even did ‘groupon’ type marketing.
My practice and reputation grew quickly. Clients began telling their sleepless friends about ‘their sleep coach’.  Then a different struggle arose. My business doubled in one year! The following year, it doubled again. My business was growing so fast, that it was very difficult to balance the needs of my clients, my team and my family.
It was very important to me to be present for my children. It was something my mother was not able to do when I was a young child as she worked full time. I wanted to be at all my children’s activities and school events. Owning your own business and being a full-time work at home Mom is like a juggling act. To fit it all in, you are working every spare moment and multi-tasking all the time.
I still struggle with balancing my sleep clients, mentoring my growing team and making sure I am available for my husband and my two girls – not to mention some self-care for me! Some days I feel like I have it all. Other days I feel like I have failed at everything or at the very least let one or two balls drop!

Please tell us about MSD Baby Sleep Coach.

MSD Baby Sleep Coach is my company and ‘M.S.D.’ are my initials, but MSD also stands for Making Sweet Dreams. When my children were very little, I always ended their bedtime routine and tuck in by saying “sweet dreams”. The company name represents both my name and my girls.
My focus is dedicated to helping families with young children learn independent sleeping skills through education, encouragement and support. Every family and child has a unique situation and there is not a one size fits all approach. I take great care in customizing every family’s sleep plan and offer extensive support until their desired goals are reached.

My specialty is in the gentle sleep coaching method. The Gentle Sleep Coach ® approach is a gentler alternative for families who emotionally or philosophically resist letting their babies cry it out alone. With this method the parent stays with their child during the sleep coaching process and it allows them to offer reassurance while the child learns this new skill. This supports the development of a secure attachment between parent and child.
I am proud to say I have helped several hundred families with life changing results as a sleep coach and as an essential oil coach. I am also very fortunate and proud that many Pediatrician’s in my area, refer their sleepless and tired parents to me. The knowledge that they trust me with their patient’s, means a great deal to me. A very famous Pediatrician who has a family practice in South Orange County and has written several books on attachment called me one day, out of the blue, to interview me! Note: he has asked that I don’t name him. I must have passed his test, as I am currently the only sleep coach he has ever referred his patient’s to.
As an essential oil coach, I am very proud to have reached the leadership rank of Silver and along with my team have helped hundreds of families and individuals take charge of their health care with dramatic results in a holistic way.
A funny story is that I was also the Sleep Coach to a reality TV celebrity and our coaching sessions were an episode which aired on CMT.

Tell us something your proud of and what sets you apart?

I have been asked to write sleep related articles and have been published numerous times in parenting magazines. I have written for Parenting OC Magazine and OC Family Magazine.
I also speak regularly around Southern California as a keynote speaker to mother’s groups, so I can share with them my sleep knowledge and offer them advice that will give them more peace in their homes.

I believe what sets me apart is my approach with my clients. I start with their goals, dig deep into all the causes that have led them onto the sleepless path that they are currently on.

Then together, we develop a plan that they are confident in, one they can follow through with and one that will lead them to their goals. I look at the family unit and if even one member of the family unit is not functioning to its fullest, either from lack of sleep or health issues, the entire family is affected.

Sleep is so important for our mind, body and spirit. As parents, if we don’t get enough sleep it hinders our ability to be fully present for our children. When children do not get healthy, quality, and age appropriate sleep we see it affect their mood, their ability to learn and take in their environment.

Another factor that sets me apart is my holistic approach and inclusion of essentials oils into the protocol or plan I develop for each family, which is aimed at improving not only sleep but the overall health and well-being of the entire family.

A sleep plan must include independent sleep learning for the child, this is a key factor, but a sleep plan that includes essential oils is an amazing strategy, that will help everyone in the family!

Who else deserves credit – have you had mentors, supporters, cheerleaders, advocates, clients or teammates that have played a big role in your success or the success of the business? If so – who are they and what role did they plan / how did they help.

My biggest cheerleader has been my husband. In 2008 when I learned of the new training program, I knew in my heart and soul that this is what all my life experiences had lead me to. I discussed with my husband the fees for the training and without skipping a beat he gave me his full support. His only request of me, was to “make back the money for the training, at a minimum”. I achieved that goal within months of starting my practice. Ever since he has been by my biggest supporter. In the early days he cheered with me upon obtaining each new client, he listens when I need to talk about a rough day and he still wants to know when I am writing my book (that is on the bucket list).

In 2014, I felt it was time to re-brand my company.   I hired a branding and consulting company to guide me through this process. They have continued as my business and marketing manager which has helped guide me and my business to the next level.

I also have two mentors, a mother and daughter team. Both have been by my side, guiding me and supporting me through all the ups and downs in life and in business. They have been a great inspiration.

My clients also play a big role as my cheerleaders. They give me amazing reviews on yelp and when I read the comments it makes my heart swell! To hear them say, for example: ‘Michelle is a saint’ – ‘One of the most valuable investments we have made’ – ‘Our family has found peace’ – ‘Michelle is godsend’. 

This feedback makes me feel so humbled and it gets me through the tough days, the tough cases and reminds me of two things that are very important to me.

The first is, I have been granted a very special gift and it must be shared.

The second, I do make a difference in this big world in my very own small way! Also reminds me every day, that my life and work has great purpose.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Early Rising

Early Rising – 

The most common question I get asked about, second only to night waking!

Waking before 6am is too early for everyone and it throws off your child’s entire daytime schedule.  


In some cases, the early rising has an easy fix – maybe it is too light in the room at the wee hours.  Possibly the birdies are singing their songs at your child’s window.  These issues can be fixed with room darkening shades or black out curtains.  Ideally the room should be as dark at 6am as it is at 9pm.  A white noise machine in your child’s room is a simple solution to the external noises.

Sleep Learning

But it usually isn’t so easy!  When your child stirs, go to her quickly and try to get her back to sleep before she screams herself awake.  Try to soothe her back to sleep while still in her crib, without picking her up.  If she doesn’t go back to sleep again, and she likely won’t at first, do not turn on the lights or get her out of the crib until 6am.  If you do, the early rising will continue and possibly the waking will get earlier and earlier.

If she hasn’t gone back to sleep after a bit of reassurance from you – then either stay in her room and have minimal interaction (sit in the chair with your eyes closed) or if you being there encourages her to be more awake you can leave the room and check on her at intervals that you feel comfortable with (every 10 or 15mins perhaps).   When it is finally 6am, leave the room (if you haven’t already) and  come back after a minute, to start your morning routine.  Be dramatic and emphasize that it is morning time.

Toddler Sleep Clock

If your child is over 2yo you could get a children’s alarm clock.  There are several types available – sun/moon, bunny sleeping/bunny awake, light changes colors …  at the time you set it to change.  The clock my girls have in their room turns green at the time I have set for them.  Our sleep manners include ‘do not get out of bed before your clock turns green’.  If you are not 200% consistent with the clock then your child will not take it seriously either.  Like above, you go to them quickly when they wake and say:  ‘sweetie, your clock isn’t green it’s not morning/wakie time’.  

Napping with an early riser can be tricky as too early of a morning nap can ingrain the early rising!  If she is over 6mo the recommendation is no morning nap before 8am.   If she is over 9mo, no morning nap before 9am.  If she is on 1 nap, no nap before 12noon.  Otherwise she will be overtired at bedtime and the cycle continues.

Here are the four causes of Early Rising:

1) Too late of a bedtime - for the 1st 5 years of a child's life bedtime is usually between 7-8pm!

2) Not enough napping - too late of a bedtime and skipped or short naps will create, early rising, more night waking, poor quality of sleep and an overtired, fussy child. Well napped children sleep better at night too! Not logical but sooo true.

3) Too long between end of afternoon nap and bedtime - in order to catch the 7-8pm bedtime, you need to monitor how long of a sleep window there is between the end of afternoon/last nap and bedtime. There are general guidelines that are appropriate for most children. Under 6 months of age the last nap should end about 4.30/5pm. From 6-9 months most still need that short catnap before bed and can usually handle a 2-3hr window to bedtime. From 9 to 18 months (if sleeping through the night and napping well) most can handle a 4hr window to bedtime. From 2 yrs. we usually recommend that the nap end by 3-3.30 to preserve bedtime.

4) Going to bed too drowsy - if they can't put themselves to sleep without help at bedtime, the easiest time of the day for independent sleep ... how are they going to be able to put themselves back to sleep without your help at 4am (the hardest time of the day)? Start by teaching independent sleep at bedtime.

You must be 100% consistent in your response with your early bird  ... as early rising takes weeks of consistency and patience for the behavior to change.

If you have been 100% consistent in your response and are doing everything above correctly, then I would look at a medical reason for the rising. Sleep apnea is frequently overlooked in children and can cause a very stubborn early waking.  Speak to your child’s doctor if you suspect any medical reasons for the waking.

I wish you and your family sweet dreams and later mornings!

Written By: Michelle S. Donaghy

Photo Credit: Classic Kids Photography Newport Beach, By: Jenn

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Time Change - Fall Back 2017

Summer is offically over and we are in the midst of the fall time change. Sunday, Nov 5th at 2:00 AM clock fall back by one hour.

Spring forward...Fall back....

I love fall! Cooler weather, leaves changing colors, holidays around the corner and I get an extra hour of sleep. As a parent, I dread my kids waking up too early and having to adjust their sleep patterns. Do you?

If so, here are some options to help you and your family through the transition when we set our clocks backwards one hour on Sunday November 5th.

Gradual Approach: 

The gradual approach is usually recommend for younger children (3 and under) or those who do not adjust well to rapid changes in their schedules.

Start the week before the time change and slowly shift your baby's sleep schedule later.  For example: move bedtime, morning wake up time and nap times later by 10-15 minutes.

Keep moving the entire schedule later every few days but ensure your child doesn't get overtired.  By the time Sunday comes, your child's schedule will be based on the new time.  You will have gently shifted the circadian rhythm which regulates your child's sleeping patterns.

Rapid Approach: 

For the rapid approach, put your child to bed at their normal bedtime on Saturday, the ideal bedtime for most children is between 7-8 pm.

Your child will likely wake up at their normal time (6-7am), but the clock will say (5-6 am).  Your brain will say uck!  Go ahead and get them up, they don’t know about daylight savings time, but you can keep it low key for 30-60 minutes until you are ready to start your day.

If your child is less than 3 years old and still naps then stretch him as close as you can to his normal 1st nap time (using the current clock).  Water play, a stroll outside (don't let them fall asleep in the stroller) or getting outside is a great wake to keep any kiddo awake!

If you think your child can’t make it a full hour later, split the difference pushing the morning nap later by 30 min.  If that is too much, push the 1st nap later 15-20 mins and continue to do so every 3 days until the new time is reached.  The rest of the schedule will naturally be later if you follow this sleep tip.

Early Rising Tips:

The next few mornings, they may wake up a little early, but don’t let them start the day before 6:00 am (new clock).  You may need to review my blog on Early Rising if you have issues with waking up too early in the mornings or if your child is waking before 6:00 am.

Daylight Savings Tips:

On Sunday, follow your usual schedule as close as possible.  Move meals, the rest of his naps(s) and bedtime using the new clock time.

Ensure that your child is well-rested during this transition period and if needed, putting them to bed 15-30 minutes earlier for a few days is okay.

If your child had too late of a bedtime before the fall time change, here is your chance to move it earlier without too much fuss.  So, if your lil one's nite-nite time was too late, don’t move it later - pretend time change didn't happen.

It may take everyone a few days to adjust but it should not take more than a week to adjust your child's sleep patterns to the new time.

Written By: Michelle S. Donaghy

Photo Credit: Classic Kids Photography Newport Beach, By: Jenn

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Schedules, Naps and Awake Windows ...

Everything you wanted to know about your baby and/or your toddler's day!

When thinking of our babies sleeping, their nighttime sleep is usually where most parents emphasize. Research does tell us that difficulties with night sleep has the largest negative impact on your family. Day sleep however, is also important, as sleep begets sleep! But there is a lot to know. I hope the information below is helpful so you can make the most out of their day and of course their daytime sleep.

Nap Averages

Some babies sleep more and some less but they are pretty consistent based on their age and how much they will sleep during the day. You can use this information to plan your day and also know if their day sleep is on track.

Newborn to 5 Months

Don’t worry about having a rigid schedule at this stage. Some newborns need a lot of sleep, others are not so good at napping yet. What is most important at this age is to put them down for a nap frequently during the day (every 60-120 mins, see below for more precise numbers). It’s common for them to have 4 to 5 naps throughout the day and the length of the nap will vary greatly for newborns.

6 to 8 Months

At this age, your baby will benefit from at least 3+ hours of total nap time, spread throughout the day. Try a morning, afternoon, and late afternoon catnap. If they nap well, they might only take 2 longer naps as they approach 8-9 months.

9 to 12 Months

From 9 to 12 months, you can expect your baby to sleep about 3 hours during the day, spread across 2 naps as she will likely drop the late afternoon catnap. You might also see the morning nap shorten and the afternoon nap lengthen. Start the afternoon nap about three hours after the morning nap.

13 to 18 Months

At this age, expect to see your child sleep about 2 1/2 hours of total nap time, spread across 2 naps. Do not let them get rid of their morning nap too soon. Most children don't drop to one nap until around 15-18 months. If you find your child is refusing the afternoon nap, it is likely that they slept too long in the morning. It is okay to wake them up from the morning nap after 1 to 1 1/2 hours if it helps them be tired enough to take that afternoon nap.

When they do switch to the 1 nap, the nap should start between 12-1PM depending on their age and when they wake in the morning.

MSD Sleep Tip:  click on this link to view our blog - "Is my toddler ready to drop to one nap?"

18 to 24+ Months

After 18 months, your child will likely be ready for one afternoon nap lasting about 2-2 1/2 hours and ideally nap time should start about 1pm or just after lunch time.

2+ years and beyond

At this age, expect your toddler's day sleep to start to decrease to 1 1/2 to 2 hours total. They are getting ready to make a steady shift towards ending naps altogether, which is common around 3 and 4 year old.

Nevertheless, you always want to make nap time or at the very least 'quiet time' an option for them. See more on quiet time below.

“Windows” of Wakefulness

These “windows” are basically periods in which you can expect your child to be awake between his or her naps. Start your timer from when they wake up from one sleep period to when they fall asleep for another sleep period eg: nap or bedtime. 

I find that awake windows or sleep windows are like magic, as when you get them right your child can fall asleep much easier as they are not 'undertired' nor 'overtired' - both of which can affect nap time.

0-3-months: 1-2 hour window of wakefulness
4-6-months: 2-2.5 hours
6-9-months: 2-3 hours
9-12-months: 2.5-4 hours
12-18-months: 3-4.5 hours
18-24-months: 5-6 hours
2-year-old: 5-6.5 hours
3-year-old: 6-7 hours
4-5-year-old: 7-8 hours, if still napping

Keep in mind that these hours refer to children who are sleeping throughout the night.

MSD Sleep Tip: download a chart of the awake windows for your reference guide. download awake windows chart

Less is not Always More

For a baby over 6 months, don’t be fooled by short naps or a ‘disaster nap’ which is typically defined as any nap that is shorter than 45 minutes. It’s more than likely that your baby may wake up cranky or drowsy from this type of nap. These shorter naps are usually caused by too short / too long of a sleep window, lack of independent sleeping skills or perhaps as a response to a developmental milestone that is happening.  

If that is the case try your best to get them back to sleep after a disaster nap, with either soothing them back to sleep or leaving them to see if they can resettle on their own.  If the short naps continue it is time to look at all the variables.


Consistency is your best friend. We parents can sometimes forget the factors that set naps and night sleep apart: noise level, too much daylight, etc.  Don't forget that naps are the hardest time to put yourself to sleep. 

If your child is a champ at hiding their sleep cues, try taking them to a dark room near when you think it's nap time, sometimes that will bring out the tired signs you were looking for to know when is the best time to put them down for sleep. You want to stay consistent in order to make their nap time the most effective.

I wish you and your family sweet dreams and sweeter mornings!

Written By: Michelle S. Donaghy

Photo credit: Classic Kids Photography

Friday, September 8, 2017

Making Sleep a Priority

Is sleep a priority in your home?

"Is my child getting enough sleep"?  A common question my clients ask me.  To be honest it's a question I ask myself often, as sleep is a very big priority in our home.  Not just for my children, but for all of us.  How much sleep everyone in the family is getting, is important for the health and well-being of every member of your family.

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) has recently updated their recommendations on how much sleep each age should be getting.  But before we look at those I would like you to think about these questions to know if your child is truly getting enough sleep.

Does your child fall asleep every time you are in the car?
Does your child seem fussy, whining, extra clingy or have more emotional meltdowns during the day?
Does your child seem ready for bed much earlier then usual bedtime, most days?
Does your child often wake before 6:00 a.m. and wake up crying?

If your answer was yes, then your child may not  be getting enough sleep either during the day or for their nighttime requirement.

New Sleep Recommendations and Guidelines

Recently, the NSF, released a report recommending a wider range for appropriate sleep across all ages.  This recommendation was based on scientifically rigorous recommendations on how much sleep each age range should be getting on a daily basis.  Have a look at the range to make sure your family is getting enough sleep on a daily basis.

NSF'S New Recommended Hours

Here are the up-to-date recommendations from the National Sleep Foundations:

  • Newborns (0-3 months ): Sleep range is 14-17 hours each day (was 12-18)
  • Infants (4-11 months): Sleep range is 12-15 hours (was 14-15)
  • Toddlers (1-2 years): Sleep range is 11-14 hours (was 12-14)
  • Preschoolers (3-5): Sleep range is 10-13 hours (was 11-13)
  • School age children (6-13): Sleep range is 9-11 hours (was 10-11)
  • Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range is 8-10 hours (8.5-9.5)
  • Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new category)
  • Adults (26-64): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new category)
  • Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours  (new category).

Sleep Tips

Everyone needs sufficient sleep and our child depend on us to ensure they have the optimal sleep environment, an age appropriate day time sleep schedule along with the independent sleep skills to ensure proper development.

We should all stop doing tasks when our bedtime arrives, rather than making sleep wait until other tasks are finished. I know I am guilty of that some days!  Sleep affects our mood, energy and health, and should be made a priority for every member of the family.

Here are some tips for ensuring everybody has healthy and relaxing sleep:

Stick to a sleep schedule, even on weekends.
Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual.
Exercise daily and ensure your child is exposed to sunlight each day.
Evaluate your bedroom for ideal temperature, sound and light.  A dimly lit room is best before bed.
Turn off all electronics 60 minutes before bedtime.

Assess if Your Family is Getting Enough?

Pay attention to your own sleeping habits and you may want to keep a sleep journal for you or your child.  Then, experiment with different sleeping times if needed - an earlier bedtime or a slightly later bedtime to see if you feel better or if your child's(ren's) behavior is improved or if they seem more rested.  This will help you determine where on the range is the right amount of sleep that is best for you/your child(ren).

Sweet Dreams!

Written by: Michelle S. Donaghy

Photo Credit: National Sleep Foundation