Our children today have more and more demands on their time, such as homework, sports, social and extracurricular activities. Studies have shown that children aged 5 to 12 years old need 10 to 11 hours of sleep a night, but on average are only getting 7 to 8 hours. The increased interest of school-aged children in TV, electronic gadgets, the internet and caffeinated products is leading to more problems falling asleep, nightmares and overall sleep deprivation. The lack of sleep or poor sleep quality may result in mood swings, headaches, stomachaches, poor school performance, poor sport performance, and/or hyperactivity. It has also been strongly linked to the development of obesity.
Parents can help school-aged children get the proper amount of sleep by having their children on a regular sleep schedule with clear bedtime routines. Make sure that your child’s bedroom is dark, cool and quiet. Use of electronics such as TVs, computers, games and cell phones should be limited for one hour before bedtime due to their stimulating effects. Experts even recommend that these items not be allowed in the bedroom at all during sleep hours. Also, limit foods with caffeine and sugar before bedtime for the same reason.
More information is available at: www.sleepfoundation.org