Helping Kids Sleep: Ages 0-5

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Weighty Matters

Babies and tots who sleep enough have a head start on success at school and on the scale. Sleep primes kids for learning and aids in memory retention, with benefits starting at birth. New research from University of Florida shows that newborns can learn in their sleep, and a study from University of Arizona reveals that babies who nap daily show advanced levels of learning. Researchers believe that adequate slow-wave sleep allows young brains to process and store information.

Brain-boosting is just one of sleep’s many benefits. According to new research in American Journal of Human Biology, sleep deprivation ups the risk of obesity, especially in children.

“Young children who sleep less are more likely to be overweight later on,” says Eliana M. Perrin, associate professor of pediatrics at UNC-Chapel Hill. “Sleep cycles affect hormones that control fat stores and appetite.”

Pave the way for a healthy, smart future by helping little ones get their daily sleep with an age-appropriate bedtime and a consistent bedtime routine. Babies, toddlers and young children need between 12 and 16 hours of sleep per day, which includes naps.  

> Helping Kids Sleep: Ages 6-10 and 11-18

Malia Jacobson is a nationally published health writer and mom of two. She blogs about sleep and family health at