TAMPA, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Just 20 minutes. That’s all the extra sleep your kids may need to focus better at school. But parents also need to keep after-school activities in check.
Leah and Natalie Greenacre love cheerleading, but on top of other activities, homework and a never-ending morning routine, their mom called a timeout.
Dena Greenacre said, “They were much harder to get up, much crankier, and I wasn’t sure why until I realized that they weren’t getting enough sleep.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics says nearly nine out of 10 kids go to bed after 9 P.M., which is too late. Experts say kids need around 10 hours every night, and when they don’t, watch out.
Kathleen Armstrong, PhD, director of pediatric psychology at the University of South Florida said, “Many children will fall asleep in class, they’re harder for parents to get them up in the morning. They’re irritable, many of the children have short attention spans when they’re not getting enough sleep, they may cry more easily. And they certainly can’t focus on their work.”
Catching more Z’s often leads to more A’s. Adding those 20 extra minutes of sleep can mean better grades in school. To do this, parents need to learn how to set limits on screen time, as well as after-school activities.
“I do think we over-schedule kids today. Kids, like adults, need to have down time every day where they can just play and relax,” said Doctor Armstrong.
For the Greenacre family, the most popular cheer is spelled S-L-E-E-P.
Dena said, “After we quit we just kind of went back to our normal schedule that I feel is what they need to stay on track at school, stay healthy.”
And we can’t forget about our four legged children. Puppies need about 18 to 19 hours of sleep, while kittens need 13 to 16 hours a day.
Contributors to this news report include: Jackie Keenan, Field Producer; Brogan Morris, Assistant Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; and Tony Dastoli, Editor.
IT’S 9 P.M. … KIDS IN BED YET?
BACKGROUND: Babies, children and teens need significantly more sleep than adults to support their rapid mental and physical development. Because of this, it is important to keep a child’s circadian rhythm, or the sleep-wake cycle in check. A child will spend 40 percent of his or her childhood asleep. The sleep cycle alternates two states of sleep. In non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, the blood supply to the muscles is increased, energy is restored, tissue growth and repair occur, and important hormones are released for growth and development. In rapid eye movement, or REM sleep, our brains are active and dreaming occurs. We also become immobile and our breathing and heart rates are irregular. By the time children reach preschool age, the sleep cycle is about every 90 minutes. Losing as little as 30 to 60 minutes of sleep time can have a major impact on children, and it is difficult to tell if a child is sleep deprived because children do not show signs of exhaustion in the same way as adults do. Sleepiness in children may look like the symptoms of ADHD, acting as if they’re not tired, resisting bedtime and becoming hyper as the evening goes on.
GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP: Those who do not get enough sleep are put at risk for a variety of physical and mental disadvantages. Not getting enough sleep is linked with more injuries, hypertension, obesity, diabetes and depression. Research shows that sleep-deprived teens, in particular, are at an increased risk for self-harm or suicidal thoughts. Children who meet the adequate amount of sleep on a regular basis are more likely to have better behavior, attention span, memory, emotional regulation and overall quality of life. More sleep can also mean better grades, socialization and life-long health habits. The National Sleep Foundation has shown that the majority of children don’t get enough sleep, finding that over 85 percent of teens lack adequate sleep. New sleep guidelines for babies, school-age children and teens were released by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine on June 13, 2016, and it has been backed up by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The guidelines are:
- Infants 4 to 12 months: 12 to 16 hours
- Children 1 to 2 years: 11 to 14 hours
- Children 3 to 5 years: 10 to 13 hours
- Children 6 to 12 years: 9 to 12 hours
- Teens 13 to 18 years: 8 to 10 hours
These guidelines include naps throughout the day. Research shows that an early bedtime and a consistent night-time routine can help children fall asleep faster and lead to better sleep. The AAP also recommends turning off all screens 30 minutes before bedtime, and keeping the use of devices outside of the bed in order to truly relax before going to sleep.
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