Sleep is extremely necessary for cellular rest and restoration. Without adequate sleep, the whole body suffers and health is impaired. Unfortunately, we seem to be living in an age where the majority of people are suffering from sleeplessness. This sleeplessness can be especially troublesome for children in school, who need even more sleep than adults. Actually, adequate sleep is essential for a child’s academic success.
School age children who are sleep deprived suffer from impaired judgement, poor memory, emotional instability, and decreased immune system functioning, according to sleep specialists. While you may think that 7-8 hours of sleep is plenty, adolescents really need 8.5-9 hours of good sleep each night in order to perform their best. However, they are among the most sleep deprived group in school. Statistics from the National Sleep Foundation reveal that 60% of kids under 18 state they are tired during the day and almost 15% routinely fall asleep during class.
Kids ages 3 to 5 require 11-13 hours of sleep each night while 5 to 12 year old kids need 10–11 hours.
Build Healthy Habits
Once summer vacation hits, kids stay up later. Nicer weather and longer days make it difficult to get to bed early. The best way to establish a healthy sleep routine for school in the fall is to have kids go to sleep early a couple weeks before school starts. Kids that start going to bed and waking up earlier before school begins will find it easier to get enough sleep during the school year. For young children, try establishing a routine such as a warm bath, snack, and bedtime. They will begin to associate the routine with bedtime and actually look forward to going to bed.
Remove Electronic Devices From Bedrooms
Even though it may be tempting to send kids to bed with their Ipods, or with a movie on the television, this is actually detrimental to good sleep. On average, kids have four electronic devices in their rooms vying for their precious time. Even watching television in bed before going to sleep can reduce sleep time by 20 minutes each night. Because the loss of sleep is cumulative, that can add up to a lot of lost sleep each week. The best sleep is achieved in a dark and quiet room with no distractions. Making the bedroom a place for sleep – not entertainment – is critical.
The bottom line is if you want your kids to be healthy and do well in school, make sleep a priority.