Getting back into a sleep routine can be good for your health
By James Thompson, MD, KentuckyOne Health Neurology Associates
With schools across the state back in session, fall sports kicking off and families getting back into their routines after a carefree summer, sleep schedules may not be top priority, but they should be.
Getting enough sleep directly correlates with good health. According to research by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), the vast majority of both adults and children fail to get the recommended amount of rest.
Preschoolers require 11-13 hours of sleep. Children between the ages of 5 and 12 need 10-11 hours. Adolescents up to age 19 need about 8 ½ to 10 hours of sleep each night. Adults need a minimum of 7½ hours to be at their best.
Children who get the recommended amount of sleep are likely to be emotionally and physically healthier than those who don’t. The proper amount of rest ensures children are alert and at their best in the classroom and on the sports field.
In the long-term, children with chronic sleep deprivation are more likely to have difficulties learning, paying attention or to exhibit symptoms of attention deficit disorder and depression. They are also more likely to be overweight.
Evidence also suggests that teenagers are especially sleep deprived. A recent poll by the NSF found that 60 percent of children under age 18 complained of being tired during the day, and 15 percent said they fell asleep at school at least once during the year. This can be attributed in part to adolescents’ circadian rhythms (sleep patterns), which are not well suited for a 7 a.m. school start time. Students at high schools across the country that start at 8 a.m. or later are showing improved enrollment and attendance rates.
No matter what time school starts, however, it is likely to be much earlier than what your child has been accustomed to over the laid back summer months. Here are some tips to help kids ease into a school-time sleep schedule and maintain healthy sleep habits throughout the year:
Healthy sleep habits make for healthy kids, so getting back into a routine this fall is essential. More tips and information about getting good sleep can be found at www.sleepfoundation.org.