By Denise Morganthall
Children do not get the sleep they did years ago. With our hectic lifestyles today it is so easy to forget the importance of sleep and what time little Johnny got to bed. Between working longer hours, after-school activities and late dinners, it is very easy to get caught up in this vicious cycle known as “sleep deprivation.”
Sleep deprivation is serious in that it can shave years off your life and wreak havoc on your child’s growth and development. Children who lack the required amount of sleep suffer a wide array of problems, from having trouble paying attention in school to behavioral problems such as hyperactivity to just being grumpy.
Researchers have also found that children who lack sleep are at a higher risk for childhood obesity. It has been found that a child who sleeps one hour less than needed increases his risk of obesity by 80 percent. But how much sleep does your child need? School-aged children and pre-teens do best with 10 to 12 hours of sleep, whereas adolescents and teens do best on eight to nine hours.
How can I help my child get a good night’s sleep?
- Stick to a regular bedtime – If it is a school night your child will know he needs to start winding down at a certain time.
- Create a consistent bedtime routine, such as getting a bath, brushing their teeth then story time.
- No TV or electronics before bed.
- Try to avoid conflicts and create a quiet environment before bedtime.
- Make sure your child gets plenty of exercise during the day, but not right before bed.
All of these factors contribute to a child receiving a good night’s sleep. Sleep is a child’s brainpower; let’s get all the zzzz’s we need!
[David De Lossy]/[Digital Vision]/Thinkstock