Getting quality sleep is a big piece of the puzzle to living a healthy lifestyle — especially for kids

MADISON, Wis. — There are three basic things you can do to help your family build healthy habits: eat healthy, stay hydrated and get a good night’s sleep.

We all know when you don’t get enough sleep, it’s harder to focus, you can get headaches and are a little more irritable. That’s the same with kids.

SSM Health pediatrician Dr. Dan Beardmore said it’s recommended that toddlers get a nap during the day and then 12 hours of sleep at night. For elementary and middle school students, that recommendation goes down to about 10 hours.

“What’s tough is that as we start to get older and into the teenage years, it doesn’t continue to shrink, it actually goes up. Our teen kiddos do best with greater than 10 hours of sleep,” said Beardmore.

That can be difficult with school, homework and after school activities like sports.

To help kids get to sleep, Beardmore recommends low lighting and reading. Parents can help create a more soothing and calming setting so children can relax.

This means no bright screens or tablets.  Beardmore said those bright lights tell your brain you should stay awake.

He said going to school virtually might give kids more flexibility on when they go to sleep and wake up, but the amount of hours they sleep should stay the same.