acepuppets

How Much Sleep Does Your Child Get?

Posted on: October 10, 2014


I think all parents struggle when it comes to bedtime (some much more than others!) The bottom line is that most children, whether this is every night or just some nights, hate being made to go to bed. This can be for a many reasons but to name a few;

  • They may feel like they are going to be missing out on something if they do
  • They might have older siblings who have a later bedtime and so don’t see it as fair that they have to to bed earlier.
  • They might actually not be tired (or just think that they aren’t)
  • It might mean ending their favourite activity of playing or watching tv etc.

The bottom line is that bed time is boring and seen as a negative thing to a child. It is not until we get much older that we appreciate it so much more!

I think it is harder in the summer time as the evenings stay light much later into the night which can make kids feel like they are going to bed in the middle of the day. Being back at school helps quite a lot as it tires them out and means they are getting up earlier in the morning as well. However, sometimes they still might not have had a tiring enough day to be ready to go to bed at your decided time.

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Did you know that the majority of children do actually suffer from sleep deprivation?

On average, it seems as though children are getting around 2 hours less sleep a night then they should be. I find this quite easy to believe actually what with the amount of stimulation through computer, tablets, phones, televisions etc they have in front of them, it can be hard, as you may know yourself, to switch off from all of that.

The reason things like that prevent a good night’s sleep is that their screens give off blue light. Blue light is particularly bad at night because it suppresses the production of melatonin which affects the wake and sleep cycles. It is also over stimulation for the brain seeing so many different things and trying to process so much information when it should be winding down.

Experts say that exchanging ‘screen’ time for ‘green’ time can work wonders (again, this is quite easy to believe.) Getting your child outside playing is linked to a much better night’s sleep. Regular doses of natural light are much better for them than blue light from a screen. Get ready for the vaguely scientific part – daylight covers a much broader spectrum of light and it helps us stay more alert during the day, acts as a mood elevator and keeps our body clock in check.

Another reason outdoor play helps is because it acts as a stress reliever almost – there are no pressures of the classrooms or of trying to finish a difficult level on a game but rather a sense of freedom and fun.

Finally, another huge advantage I can think of for outdoor play is the exercise that children get from running around, which is much better for them than being parked in front of a TV! It also promotes all of the physical (and social) skills like balance, strength, agility and more that are important to get to grips with at a young age.

It is great that most children have an opportunity to run around outside playing on the outdoor playground equipment they have at their school during breaks but if for whatever reason they don’t get to do this each day then it can be a real benefit to get them outside at some point to burn off some excess energy and get some fresh air!

 

Here are some useful articles about sleep habits in children and teenagers if you want some further reading!

http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/science_nation/sleepdeprivedkids.jsp

http://sleepfoundation.org/

http://www.webmd.com/parenting/guide/sleep-children

http://www.studentpulse.com/articles/156/getting-enough-sleep-is-no-easy-task-for-todays-students

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