Kids and Sleep- What’s enough?

Adorable little girl sleeps.Is your child getting enough sleep? Too little sleep can affect your child’s learning, memory, concentration, attention span, emotions and behaviour.

We are a sleep deprived nation and both adults and children alike are not getting enough ZZZ’s.

There are many factors that play a role in why your child may not be sleeping.

  • anxiety
  • stress
  • phobias
  • deficient in minerals like magnesium, and omega- 3’s
  • not having a constant routine
  • room is too hot or not dark enough
  • too much noise in the house
  • food allergies or sensitivities, i.e, foods or airborne allergies

Sleep deprived children are often aggressive or irritable. They tend to have a short attention span and are hard to wake up in the morning. Many children are labeled with mild ADHD ( attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) when in fact they are simply sleep deprived.

How much sleep is enough sleep?

  • newborns need 16-20 hours
  • preschool & school aged children need 10-11 hours
  • teenagers need 10 hoursSchool boy tired of studying and sleeping with books

Tips to get kids sleeping

  1. Set a bedtime and stick to it every night
  2. Remove electronic devices from their room; TV, cell phone, computer, ipad, video games, electric alarm clock ( opt for a battery operated clock), portable phone
  3. It has been shown that EMF’s ( electrical magnetic fields) from devices affect our sleep
  4. Make sure they have exercise earlier on in the day or early evening
  5. Avoid stimulants like coffee, chocolate, cocoa, soft drinks
  6. Establish a routine of quiet talking, reading books to them, even meditation tapes

If your child is still experiencing sleepiness during the day start to keep a sleep diary. It may help to reveal what is contributing to their sleep problems and it will be a helpful tool to bring to the doctors office.

  • keep track of the time your child goes to bed
  • how long does it take them to fall asleep
  • how many times did they wake during the night
  • did they nap during the day
  • did anything make them anxious or upset
  • how many hours did they sleep at night
 

About the Author

Written by: Shirley Plant
Shirley Plant is a nutritionist and the author of Finally… Food I Can Eat, a dietary guide and cookbook for people with food allergies, and those looking for healthy, tasty recipes. Shirley offers dietary counselling and menu planning through Delicious Alternatives.

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