All about SLEEP

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How Much Is Enough?

It all depends on your child’s age.

There’s no magical number of hours required by all kids in a certain age group. Children, like adults are all individuals. Two-year-old Luke might sleep from 7:30 pm to 7:30 am, whereas little 2-year-old Sophie is just as alert the next day after sleeping from 8:00 pm to 6:00 am.

BUT sleep is very important to your child’s well-being.

The link between a lack of sleep and a child’s behaviour isn’t always obvious to most parents I work with because when adults are tired, they can just be grumpy or have low energy, but children can become hyper, disagreeable, rude, erratic, have poor concentration and have extremes in their behaviour

Sleep Is a Basic Human Need

Sleep is a natural part of your children’s development but many parents know very little about just how important it is for their growing children and don’t put firm, consistent bedtime routines in place for their children.

Sleep is something our bodies need to do; it is not an option.

Even though the exact reasons for sleep remain a mystery, we do know that during sleep many of the body’s major organ and regulatory systems continue to work actively. Some parts of the brain actually increase their activity dramatically, and the body produces more of certain hormones.

Sleep, like diet and exercise, is very  important for our minds and bodies to function normally.

In fact, sleep appears to be required for survival. Rats deprived of sleep die within two to three weeks, a time frame similar to death due to starvation.

Problem Sleepiness Has Serious Consequences

Sleepiness due to chronic lack of adequate sleep is a big problem in the UKand affects many children as well as adults.

Children and even adolescents need at least 9 hours of sleep each night to do their best. Most adults need approximately 8 hours of sleep each night.

When we get less sleep (even one hour less) than we need each night, we develop a “sleep debt.”

If the sleep debt becomes too great, it can lead to problem sleepiness – sleepiness that occurs when you should be awake and alert, that interferes with daily routine and activities, and reduces your ability to function.

Even if you do not feel sleepy, the sleep debt can have a powerful negative effect on your daytime performance, thinking, and mood, and cause you to fall asleep at inappropriate and even dangerous times.

Problem sleepiness has serious consequences – it puts adolescents and adults at risk for drowsy driving or workplace accidents. In children, it increases the risk of accidents and injuries.

Also, lack of sleep can have a negative effect on children’s performance in school, on the playground, in extracurricular activities, and in social relationships.

Inadequate sleep can cause decreases in:

  • Performance
  • Concentration
  • Reaction Times
  • Consolidation of Information Learning
  • Growth

Inadequate sleep can cause increases in:

  • Memory Lapses
  • Accidents and Injuries
  • Behaviour Problems
  • Mood Problems

Signs of Sleep Disorders

A child who has not obtained adequate nighttimes sleep is at high risk for symptoms of physical and/or mental impairment.

The child may fall asleep in school, have difficulty concentrating in school and in other activities, and may exhibit behavioural problems.

I think it’s helpful to know that some children who are sleepy or overtired become agitated rather than lethargic and may be misdiagnosed as hyperactive or have signs of ADHD.

Not getting enough sleep is a serious issue for your child.

The Importance of Naps

Nap. It’s a small word, but for most parents a hugely important one. Why? Sleep is a major requirement for good health, and for young kids to get enough of it, some daytime sleep is usually needed. Crucial physical and mental development occurs in early childhood, and naps provide much-needed downtime for growth and rejuvenation.

Naps also help keep kids from becoming overtired, which not only takes a toll on their moods but may also make it harder for them to fall asleep at night. And naptime gives parents a brief oasis during the day and time to tackle household chores or just unwind.

Here are some approximate numbers based on age from Kids Health

Here are my other articles on SLEEP

Toddlers, Sleep and A Sense of Humour !

The Power of The Sleep Fairy. My Simple Technique!

The Sue Atkins Parenting Show Podcast – SLEEP or lack of it !

Here are some ideas to get your teenager’s sleep habits back on track for school.

Is your child gettting enough sleep?

Check out my Sleep Webinar

The Importance of SLEEP WEBINAR. Tips, Tricks & Strategies to Help.



The Sue Atkins Sleep Checklist


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