5 Reasons Why Your Children Need More Sleep

Children's Sleep is Critical to Healthy Development
Children’s Sleep is Critical to Healthy Development

Children’s sleep is more than just a period of rest; it’s a critical component of a child’s health and development. While it’s common to focus on diet and physical activity for children’s health, the role of sleep is often underestimated. Yet, the benefits of adequate sleep touch every aspect of a child’s growth, from their brains to their bones. Here are five important reasons why your children need more sleep:

Enhanced Brain Development

Enhanced Brain Development Adequate sleep is essential for a child’s brain development. It’s during sleep that the brain processes information, forms new connections, and consolidates memory. Regular sleep patterns, including daytime naps, contribute significantly to language development, learning new skills, and creative thinking.

Promotes Physical Growth

Promotes Physical Growth Growth hormone, vital for physical development, is primarily released during sleep. This hormone is crucial for tissue development and repair, and it plays a significant role in the physical growth of children, helping in bone elongation and overall body strength.

Emotional Stability and Well-being

Emotional Stability and Well-being

Consistent sleep is key to a child’s emotional health. Insufficient sleep can lead to mood swings, irritability, and challenges in managing emotions. A regular sleep schedule helps in maintaining a balanced mood, which is beneficial for both social interactions and emotional stability.

Boosts Immune System Function

Boosts Immune System Function

A robust immune system is crucial for fighting off infections, and sleep plays a vital role in this. During sleep, the body produces immune cells that are essential in combating illnesses. Adequate sleep ensures that these immune cells are produced effectively, keeping children healthier.

Improves Parent-Child Relationships

Improves Parent-Child Relationships

Well-rested children are generally more cooperative, cheerful, and responsive, which positively impacts family dynamics. This leads to a more peaceful household, fewer conflicts, and a stronger parent-child bond.

The many benefits of prioritizing sleep for your children cannot be overstated. In fact, one of the greatest gifts you can offer your child is support and guidance to develop healthy sleep habits. In the video below, I offer additional tips that can help you empower your children to sleep better.

Sleep Issues in Older Children
Sleep Issues in Older Children

Ensuring that children get enough sleep is a key aspect of parenting. By prioritizing sleep, parents can aid in their child’s overall development and well-being, fostering a healthier, happier family environment.

Dana Obleman is the Creator of The Sleep Sense™ Program

If you're ready to put an end to those exhausting nights and give your child the lifelong gift of healthy sleep habits, The Sleep Sense Program is the easy to master step-by-step system trusted by pediatricians and over 125,000 parents like you.

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Jake Devins

This piece really resonates with me, especially as I’ve seen my sister navigate the challenges of ensuring her kids get adequate sleep. Witnessing the positive effects on their emotional well-being and family dynamics is truly remarkable. It’s a reminder that sometimes, the simplest acts, like prioritizing a good night’s sleep, can make a world of difference in a child’s life.


Hi Dana, your dive into children’s sleep is fascinating! As a non-parent, I’m curious—what initially led you to explore the intricate world of kids’ sleep? It’s interesting to see the psychological aspect of this topic and how the child mind works underneath it all. I’ll save this post to later share it with my friends who have kids and have recently become parents. Thank you for the insights! 


It is so important for kids to get enough sleep. It not only helps with physical development, but also with emotional wellbeing and brain function. I know with myself that I get irritable and short tempered when I am deprived of sleep, so it is only natural that it will also happen in children that do not get enough sleep. 

It would be interesting to know what you regard as the minimum hours for “enough” sleep for a child, and if they should be getting more than eight hours a night. Thank you for sharing your expertise. 


The connection between consistent sleep and emotional stability is so important. It would be great to explore more about how parents can establish and maintain healthy sleep schedules to positively impact their child’s mood and emotional well-being.

The direct link between sleep and the immune system is fascinating. Can you provide more information on how parents can encourage good sleep hygiene to boost the production of immune cells in children and, in turn, support their overall health?


Great article. It seems like too often sleep for children is not prioritized – they’re having to live by adult standards, sometimes to the detriment of their health and school performance. Like starting school so early – it’s better if we start school a little later and finish a little later. Let the kids sleep. It’s better for their concentration, retention, and overall well being. Thanks for sharing. 

Lauren Kinghorn

Hi Dana, thanks for sharing these benefits. I’m so glad I watched your video as well because yes, this is exactly what’s happening with our 10-year-old son. He wants me there with him all night (if he doesn’t have a friend over) and I fall asleep with him most nights. And if I don’t, he will invariably come fetch me during the night. 

The weirdest thing happened a couple of nights ago. I had fallen sleep next to him and was still next to him, and he got up and went to my husband to ask for me (sleep walking I think?).  

My hubby was very puzzled, he told our son I’m in his room and he went back to his room and climbed back into bed with me and went straight back to sleep.

My hubby followed him back to his room to make sure he was okay, but then he (hubby) could’t get back to sleep.

I slept through all of this but during the same night, I saw my son get up to go somewhere and told him it was still night time, and he settled back into bed. 

Interestingly, I also used to sleep walk and sleep talk as a child and my son talks in his sleep a lot. Sleep walking is his latest trick. 

Could it be because it’s school holidays and his sleep routine is out (he’s going to bed later than usual, especially if he has a friend sleeping over). Or because he’s doing too much digital screen time during the day?

Is he about to grow out of the need for having me with him at night (you mentioned it’s children from ages 8 to 11)? I’ve been loath to withdraw in case it hurts his feelings or makes him fearful… but now if he’s waking up thinking I’m not there even when I am there, it seems a bit pointless. 


Great article on why children need to get more sleep. I knew about the immune system as this goes for adults as well, but not about the other reasons. Good to know!

But how about another reason: the more sleep the children get, the better sleep and more sleep the parents get? Haha, just kidding. Thanks for the info!


Hi Dana,

Your article “5 Reasons Why Your Children Need More Sleep” is a fantastic read. You’ve shown crucial aspects of children’s sleep that are often overlooked, such as its effect on brain development, physical growth, emotional stability, immune function, and parent-child relationships.

As a parent, I’ve seen firsthand how a good night’s sleep can transform a child’s day. One question that comes to mind is about the different sleep requirements for various age groups. Could you provide more specific guidelines on the optimal amount of sleep for different stages of childhood?

Thank you for your work and sharing your expertise!

Warm regards,



Great article! This is something we have struggled a bit with our little one. They are somewhat of a night owl and it can be very challenging to get that sleep pattern right at times for various reasons. This article will hopefully help parents with similar issues and I bet there are a lot out there.


Thank you for sharing this post. I have many younger siblings and cousins and have definitely seen a clear difference in their health and wellbeing with changes in their sleep schedule.

When my younger siblings don’t get enough sleep they end up really emotional and frustrated all day, which causes stress for all of my other family members. In contrast, with enough sleep they are much happier and as a result all family members are in a better mood. 

I found it really interesting to learn of all the other ways a child’s health is impacted by the amount of sleep they get. Thank you again for sharing!


Hi Dana,

Brilliant article! Sleep does contribute positively towards managing emotions as you have indicated. Does this mean adults who can’t control their emotions didn’t have enough sleep during their development as children? Maybe lack of sleep in adults can still have impact on managing emotions. What do you say?

You also highlighted immune cells being produced during sleep in children. I have heard that when you have flu or cold the remedy is to sleep. Is it the same principle you talking about here? Are immune cells still being released during the sleep of adults?

Thank you,



I agree with you that sleep, and a lot of it, is essential for growing children and teens. Children and teens who haven’t had enough sleep are just grumpy, and I can vouch for that looking at my daughter.

I had no idea that sleep had so many other benefits for children, including the promotion of physical growth and enhanced brain development. I now need some tips to get children who battle to go to sleep at night to fall asleep.