Are your children difficult to manage? Are they having behavior concerns that seem out of control? While there may be a variety of reasons, sleep patterns could be one of the most impacting.
According to some research, children with inconsistent sleep patterns are more likely to have emotional difficulties, increased hyperactivity, problems with peers and lower test scores.
Irregular sleep patterns can be similar to the effects of “jet lag,” leaving a child experiencing a variety of symptoms, just as adults often do. That said however, sleep deprivation during pivotal developmental ages can have significant lifelong impacts. On a positive note, these effects are often reversible if a healthy routine is implemented.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, newborns require 16 – 18 hours of sleep per day, preschool aged children need 11 – 12 hours, school aged children at least 10, teens 9 – 10 and adults 7 – 8 hours per day. Many of us have demanding schedules, but just as diet and exercise routines are vital to our health, so is sleep. Whatever time you have to wake up, be sure to block out enough time at night to be fully rested in the morning. Consistency is the key, so unfortunately getting to bed on time one night a week won’t cut it!
Here are a couple of good sleep hygiene tips from the experts at the CDC:
- Have consistent bed times & rise times
- Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark & relaxing
- Use your bed for sleeping and not electronic devices or reading
- Avoid large meals before bedtime
Nick Hersey, LAMFT, LAPC