Signs Your Child Needs More Sleep
Said the famous baseball star, coach and philosopher, Yogi Berra, “If I didn’t wake up, I’d still be asleep.” No doubt, many funny things have been said about sleep. But the quality and amount of sleep are serious matters, especially for growing children.
Why is Lack of Sleep in Children Critical?Good sleep is as important to good health as are fresh air, water and good nutrition. Sleep allows the body to be rested, refreshed and repaired. During sleep, muscular blood supply is increased, tissue growth takes place and critical hormones flow through the body providing important bodily development. Without adequate sleep, children can face daytime fatigue, they can experience hyperactivity, ADD/ADHD, lower IQs or aggression. Inadequate sleep can also result in arrested growth and more illnesses than normal.
How Much Sleep Does My Child Need?
- Preschoolers ages 3-5 typically need 11-13 hours of sleep each night. Before the age of 5, children will also usually require a mid-day nap.
- School-aged children ages 6-13 years typically will need 9-11 hours of sleep. This is the age group where sleep problems and disorders may be prevalent.
- Teens ages 14-18 require 8-10 hours of sleep. This is especially important if the youth is into sports or other physical activities, involved in work or is preparing for a special event, such as a test in school.
What are the Symptoms?Lack of sleep in children, restless sleep or poor quality of sleep can result in such indicators as mood swings, academic challenges and behavior issues. In addition, sleep problems can be manifested in children being overweight, becoming clumsy, acting more impulsive and even injury-prone. Daytime fatigue and dark circles under eyes are key indicators of sleep problems.
A more serious cause of disruptive sleep is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Referred-to simply as apnea, this is when throat tissues block the upper airway. Many children diagnosed with ADD/ADHD may actually be experiencing apnea. Similarly, behavior issues may trace to apnea. Snoring and bed wetting are common indicators of apnea in children.