If there is anyone that could use a little extra sleep, it’s the busy working parent. And oftentimes, even if the job allows for some extra shut eye, the kids are not on the same page. Here are some tips for helping your kids get more sleep, so you can get the rest you deserve.
– The bodies circadian rhythm system, or biological clock, is affected by both light and temperature. A warmer than average room changes sleep patterns and makes it harder to fall asleep in the first place.
– Almost 77 percent of American children watch television before they go to sleep. The brightness of the screen, despite what the child is watching, can delay melatonin production. Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced in the body to promote sleep.
– Just a few days of sleep deprivation causes the brain to make more of the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone makes it harder to fall asleep and is slow to return to normal levels.
– In a study of 170 children, they found that those with more consistent night-time routines got more sleep regularly than those with less consistent routines who spent more time in bed. A routine can help reduce time rolling around in the sheets.
– An inconsistent bedtime throws the circadian rhythm system and homeostatic pressure system out of sync. These systems regulate sleep in the body. Staying up 3 hours later than normal one night can be compared to flying over 3 time zones.
– Students can forego sleep for grades or sports but it affects them in other areas of their life. Over-scheduled students with high GPA’s are more likely to be stressed and depressed, whereas over scheduled athletes are more likely to be involved in fall-asleep car crashes.
– Students who sleep more are involved in more after school activities because they have enough energy for them. Schools with later start times have seen improvements in grades and participation.
– A nap may help short term but is not replacement for sleep. A nap will physically reinvigorate you but will do nothing to repair cognitive function.
Many common sleep disorders can have a startling effect on a child’s brain. Depriving a child of the exercise, sleep, oxygen, or nutrition that it needs can predispose it to a number of problems in the future. Families should be aware of their children’s sleeping habits and talk with their children about the importance of sleep.