This post is sponsored by our friends at Sleep Number. This is part of an ongoing series on the importance of better sleep for optimal health and wellness. All opinions are our own.
It’s that time of year. Back to school. And while many parents—both those with young children, AND those with middle school or high school or even college kids are breathing a sigh of relief that the house is somewhat empty again (!) and the chaos of summer is behind us…..LET’S BE REAL. We’ve simply moved into another chapter of the year, and kids-in-school-time can often be even more chaotic than those days of summer when they are constantly underfoot.
Today’s kids have more homework and more out-of-school commitments than we ever had growing up. How did this happen, that it seems like our kids today need a full time agent to manage their school work and athletic and hobby schedules? From dance to sports to drama or perhaps even a budding YouTube star—kids today are used to being in constant motion with constant stimulation.
Parents- we need to think about the effect that this “always on” environment has on our kids. Further, we need to seriously consider how some practices that might seem innocuous are actually quite damaging. Many of these practices directly impact how much SLEEP your child is getting, and lack of sleep is NOT something to take lightly. The data we found via myriad sources supports that school-aged kids ideally need 10-11 hours of sleep per night. Is your child getting consistent sleep?
We can SO relate to a day like that.
Here’s what can happen when your child is NOT getting enough sleep—via the Nationwide Children’s Hospital:
- Bad Moods! Sleep deprivation can result in moody, cranky kids. Additionally, children can have a challenging time regulating moods.
- Bad Behavior. Kids not getting adequate sleep tend to have behavior problems, such as noncompliance and hyperactivity.
- Cognitive capacity. Lack of sleep can cause issues with attention, memory, decision making, reaction time, and creativity, all which are important in school.
One of the practices impacting healthy sleep for kids is letting them get in the habit of staying up late, and/or using technology (smartphones, tablets or laptops or even desktops) late at night in the dark (perhaps in bed). This is becoming a VERY common practice with parents who have the best of intentions. Take the technology away!
If you are not establishing a consistent “bedtime” for your child, it’s likely they will have issues falling asleep. Our bodies (this goes for you as well, parents) respond to consistency- -and our Circadian Rhythms are optimized with regular bedtimes -and a wind-down routine at night that supports relaxation, not stimulation.
(Hint: more on Circadian Rhythms coming up in a future post!! Be sure you are subscribed.)
Is your child regularly staying up LATE? Taking a tablet to bed to watch Netflix or play around on apps? This is bad!!
- After reviewing data from over 20 studies involving 125K+ children, researchers at King’s College in London discovered an association between bedtime media device usage and shorter sleeps, decreased sleep quality and significant daytime drowsiness. Source: Daily Mail, UK
- The researchers also concluded that “….children using a tablet or other media device within 90 minutes of going to bed had double the risk of a disrupted night’s sleep compared to children who didn’t.” Source: TechRadar November 2016
- Full Results of this study can be found here: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/2571467
HINT. The same goes for parents. Are you taking your smartphone or tablet or laptop to bed? Guess what- it WILL affect your sleep. Don’t do it. Further, if you are diving into work that late at night, how well do you think your mind will feel relaxed and ready to nod off? Doubtful. Put it in another room for the night and watch your sleep improve.
Here is the deal, moms and dads.
You all want your kids to excel. You want their lives to be full and active but- you must recognize that to do all of this, they (and YOU) need SLEEP. Lots of it, and consistent, quality sleep. (You too!)
If either or both- you and your kids- are suffering from lack of sleep or your bedtimes are all over the place, it’s time to make some serious changes.
Our continuing series with Sleep Number will focus on a whole lot of wonderful information on how you – and your kids, can optimize your sleep, because doing so will optimize your LIFE. That’s right. Your life. Sleep affects EVERYTHING and this is why we are giving so much attention to the topic. Tune in to our recent Facebook Live session on this topic. (Be sure you like us all official over there and turn on notifications. Good stuff coming up!)
Tell us in the comments below- what’s the state of the sleep world in your home? Are you getting enough? Are your kids? What’s driving you the most crazy about SLEEP?