Do school-aged children get enough sleep?
New research shows that more than half of school-aged children aren't getting the recommended nine hours of sleep at night. And they're not just losing out on that extra rest at night, sleep deprived kids don't show as many signs of development. Research from the 2016-2017 National Survey of Children's Health, in which caregivers and parents gave self-reported answers, of the 49,050 children aged 6-17 years old, only 47.6% got an average of nine hours of sleep during the week. Guidelines set by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, state that children ages 6-12 years should sleep 9-12 hours a night, while teenagers aged 13-18 should sleep 8-10 hours. Infants need 12-16 hours, toddlers need 11-14 and preschoolers need 10-13 hours of sleep.
How does less sleep affect our children?
We already know that sleep makes kids (and adults) healthier, affecting everything from weight and growth, to attention and temperament. This survey also touched on the affects less sleep had on things like homework, interests, curiosity in new things, and staying calm when completing tasks. Those who got nine hours of sleep had better odds in all but the last category. Kids who didn't get enough sleep were about 12% less likely to flourish in all four categories. The biggest difference was in homework. It was reported that 68.4% of kids that got eight hours or less, did all required homework. While 80.2% who got nine hours or more hours of sleep did all required homework.
Signs your child may not be getting enough sleep:
Not getting enough sleep is common in school-aged children. With increasing school obligations, evening activities, and later bedtimes. But here are a few things to look out for as signs of sleep deprivation.
Mood- The child may become irritable, and cranky. They may have a difficult
time regulating their mood, by getting frustrated or upset more easily.
Behavior- They can become disagreeable, excitable, hyperactive and engage
in extreme behaviors like tantrums or aggression. They can also become
clumsy and impulsive without thinking things through.
Cognitive Ability- They can show problems with attention, memory, decision
making, reaction time and creativity. All which are important in school.
Tips for getting your children to sleep well:
Make sleep a priority- Just like scheduling time for homework, sports, or other activities, schedule time for sleep. Set a non-negotiable bedtime,
making sure your child goes to sleep and wakes up at the same time each day.
Start the bedtime routine earlier- No one can go straight from a physically and mentally intense day, right to sleep. If bedtime is 9:00 pm, that means
your child needs to start winding down between 8 and 8:30. So by 9:00 they are ready to fall asleep.
Limiting screen time- Blue light emitted from screens can wake up the brain and make it harder to fall asleep. This is particularly true for small screens like phones and tablets which are held close to the face. Shut them off at least an hour before bedtime. Also, phones and other screens should be charged outside of the bedroom.
Taking little steps towards a good night's rest, ensures your children flourish in all that they do. Sleep is so important because it enables the body to repair and be ready for another day, keeping our children healthy, thriving and succeeding in school.
Posts written by the Team ELM family!