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Issue 37: Kids and Sleep--Bedtime Routines

What are some of the ways to get your kids to go to bed and sleep through the night?

These findings from the Sleep in America Poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation may surprise you:

  • Infants and toddlers who are put to bed asleep tend to sleep less at night than those who are put to bed awake (8.8 hours versus 9.9 hours).
  • Children who sleep by themselves in their own room get more sleep than their counterparts who share a room or a bed.
  • Children who fall asleep with a parent present in the room sleep less and are more likely to wake up during the night and experience nightmares.
  • Children who read as part of their bedtime routine sleep more than children who don’t read.
  • Children with a TV in their bedroom sleep less than those who don’t have a TV.
  • As children get older, they tend to sleep less on weekends.

According to the National Sleep Foundation’s “Sleep for Kids” website, studies indicate that “37 percent of children, kindergarten through fourth grade, suffer from at least one sleep-related problem.” They advocate, too, that young children require a quality nap time so that they are less cranky and will also have better sleep at night.

They add that children differ, but highlight that children older than six months of age should probably nap anywhere from one-half hour to two hours a day—and that napping usually ceases between the ages of two and five years.

The “Sleep for Kids” website offers these guidelines for how much sleep children should be getting:

  • For ages 0-2 months: 10.5 to 18 hours
  • For ages 2-12 months: 14 to 15 hours
  • For ages 1-3 years: 12 to 14 hours
  • For ages 3-5 years: 11 to 13 hours
  • For ages 5-12 years: 10 to 11 hours

How much are your children sleeping? It’s good to take inventory because children need adequate rest to keep them healthy and happy.

While they are in dreamland, their bodies and brains are busy getting ready for a new day. And sleep may even be important for proper weight management. Shahrad Taheri, M.D., of the University of Bristol in England, said, “Sleep may not be the only answer to the obesity pandemic, but its effect should be considered seriously, as even small changes in the energy balance are beneficial.”

With the start up of another school year, it may be even more imperative that little Johnny stays on track with his sleep schedule. As the saying goes, “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” And who doesn't want that for their kids?

 

This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.


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