• Wanyue L'brand

A good night's sleep-Better-kid-care

When the National Sleep Foundation studied results from a poll in 2004, results showed that children of all ages get less sleep each day than what is recommended by experts. On average infants get 12.7 hours a day (14-15 hours recommended), toddlers get 11.7 hours (12-14 hours recommended), and preschoolers get 10.4 hours (11-13 hours recommended).

Unlike adults, when kids are tired, they are tend to:

Daytime – symptoms might include hyperactivity, inattention, mood swings, sleepiness, and behavior problems.

Nighttime – snoring, breathing pauses, restlessness, mouth breathing and difficulty in getting up even when there was a full night’s sleep

New areas of research point to a connection between obesity and lack of sleep.

Other new research indicates that there may be a relationship between sleep problems and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Dr. Ronald Chervin (2003) from the University of Michigan has published articles indicating that children who have sleep disordered breathing (SDB) or who suffer from Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) were at an increased risk for ADHD as compared with children who slept well. This can be further complicated by the medications that are typically prescribed for ADHD, that can also impact sleep

Additionally, an Italian study showed a possible connection between inadequate sleep and the risk of childhood injury (Valent et al. 2001)

Ways to prevent sleep problems

Develop and maintain a sleep schedule including a consistent bedtime routine. Naps should be about one to three hours in length. Time naps early enough in the day so that a reasonable bedtime can be observed.

Create a calming bedroom environment. Low light and noise levels help children to sleep better. Sometimes soft, soothing music or white noise can help. A security blanket or toy may provide a sense of security.

Set limits. Clearly communicate limits to children, and enforce them, to help children develop healthy sleep habits. Consistency at home and in the child care setting provides continuity.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends this typical bedtime routine:

1. Have a light snack.

2. Take a bath.

3. Put on pajamas.

4. Brush teeth.

5. Read a story.

6. Make sure the room is quiet and at a comfortable temperature.

7. Put your child to bed.

8. Say goodnight and leave.

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