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Good sleep habits help kids thrive

Aug 20, 2018

An alarm clock blares. A parent or caregiver tries to wake a sleeping child, only to be met with a groan.

That scenario is playing out all over our region this month as kids head back to school.

Establishing good sleep habits for our kids is important for maintaining good health. Children who haven’t slept enough can be hyper or disagreeable. Lack of sleep can also affect school performance. Kids who don’t sleep enough may struggle to pay attention and have difficulty remembering things.

The 2017 Child Well-Being Survey, conducted by Interact for Health in partnership with Cincinnati Children’s and with support from United Way of Greater Cincinnati, found that about 6 in 10 kids in our region get the recommended amount of sleep for their age, including nighttime sleep and naps.

While changes in sleep schedules are more noticeable at back-to-school time, it’s important to set a sleep routine for children, no matter their age. Some tips, adapted from Cincinnati Children’s:

  1. Create a sleep-friendly environment. Hang light-blocking curtains over the windows and make sure that the temperature is seasonally appropriate for your kids’ rooms.
  2. Turn off the electronics. Screen time at bedtime can interfere with sleep.
  3. Keep bedtime consistent, even on weekends.
  4. Don’t rely on naps for older kids. They can make it harder for school-aged kids to get to sleep at a reasonable time at night.
  5. Take time to wind down. Help your children establish a brief, relaxing routine that they can do every night.

For more information about sleep, visit

Dr. O'dell Moreno Owens is the president and chief executive officer of Interact for Health and InterAct for Change. Dr. Owens is a reproductive endocrinologist. He earned an MD, an OB/GYN residency and a master's of public health degree from Yale University School of Medicine. He also obtained a fellowship in reproductive endocrinology at Harvard Medical School. In recent years, Dr. Owens has served as the Hamilton County Coroner, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College President, and Interim Health Commissioner and Medical Director of the Cincinnati Health Department.

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