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Kids need 10

Sleep is our single most important behavioural experience. The average person spends over a third of their life sleeping, but don’t presume that means they’re inactive. In fact, parts of our brain are far more active when we’re asleep and yet the benefits of sleep are chronically undervalued. In Australia, we’re in the grip of a creeping epidemic of irritability, accident-proneness and chronic health conditions, as modern lifestyles mess with the primal wiring of our internal body clocks.

So how many hours do you need? Children need 10 hours, teenagers 9 and adults 8. Sleep is critical in helping us process memories and consolidate learning. The negative effects of not getting enough are many, ranging from moodiness and decreased thinking capacity to stunted growth. So for the sake of your family, turn off, tune out and get some much needed zzzzzzzs.


• Dim the lights 30 minutes before you sleep. This gives melatonin (the sleep chemical) a chance to secrete.

• Keep all technology out of the room.

• Avoid caffeinated drinks after midday.

• Got to bed and wake up at the same time every day.

sleep prioritisation

Often underestimated for creating peace in our home is the importance of quality sleep. Sleep doesn’t interfere with our daily, it actually sets up how well our waking hours will be.

table talk – shutting down devices

There is a clear improvement in children’s sleep if devices are shut down at least an hour before bedtime.

table talk – stress discussions

Talk to your children about their stress. Listen to what’s happening in their life. However, choose the time to do it carefully. Applying more stress when they are already stressed may not be as helpful as choosing a more relaxed time.

table talk – irritability and sleep

Much of children’s irritability can be traced back to poor sleep. Ensuring children have good quality sleep helps them be more calm during the day.