A good night’s sleep should be the goal for all children as they go to bed in the evening.

Adopting five fundamental healthy habits will lead to successful and healthy sleep for most children. For some individuals, however, sleep issues will persist no matter how much attention is placed on healthy habits. In these cases, pharmacologic intervention might be necessary.

Sleep is discussed in nearly every pediatric health maintenance visit and is an endless topic of conversation for parents. Yet sleep gets relatively little attention in medical school and pediatric residency training.

When thinking about sleep and how to address sleep problems, it is best to start with a holistic survey of the patient. Five fundamental healthy habits lead to successful and healthy sleep: food, fitness, friendship with self, friendship with others and fields (sleep environment).

• Food: Children should avoid heavy meals late in the day and consumption of...

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