As parents, we all want to think we are a little smarter than our “sweet darlings.”
However, let’s be honest. Most of us from time to time have been duped by our kids. Kids will push our button to see how far they can go—especially when it comes to going to sleep. The plain truth is that some of our kids are not getting enough sleep. You may be surprised to know that one survey showed that 10% of children, Kindergarten age through 4th grade, falls asleep in school.
So what’s the big deal you may think? The big deal is sleep deprivation. According to Timothy Morgenthaler, M.D., a sleep specialist from the Mayo Clinic, school-age children need 10 to 11 hours of sleep at night. Another chart shows 9 to 11 hours is needed without daytime napping. Are your kids getting enough rest? Here are some reasons why sleep deprivation is critical?
- Sleep affects our immune system. Insufficient sleep duration can result in the immune system’s decreased ability to fight off viruses such as the common cold as well as the body’s recovery speed. Once kids go off to school you just don’t know what they are exposed to on a daily basis; so, a good night’s rest is essential for their good health.
- While we sleep our body produces proteins called cytokines. These are very important. They do two things. They help fight off infections and are essential to our deep sleep mode. Also, other infection-fighting cells are produced while we sleep. Sleep deprivation reduces these infection-fighting cells; thus, reducing the body’s ability to fight infectious disease.
- Sleep-deprived children have more trouble controlling their emotions. The part of the brain that controls our actions is affected by the lack of sleep.
- Shorter durations of sleep and lack of napping may contribute at times to physical injury, according to a joint study by various organizations published in the Journal of American Academy of Pediatrics.
- University of Michigan study indicated shorter sleep durations may be associated with the increased risk of kids being overweight.
So what are some signs your kids are not getting enough sleep? Are they falling asleep in the car every time you drive? Do you have to wake them up every morning? (as opposed to them rising on their own) Are they falling asleep in school? Ask the teacher. Are they cranky, irritable, overly emotional, or even hyperactive? Do they crash before their bedtime? These are questions that may tip you off that your kids need to get to bed earlier!
All kids think they are missing out on something; so they fight going to bed. You might remember, although I know it’s hard to, doing the same thing yourself as a child. Don’t be hoodwinked. You are the parent. You are their guardian.
They really don’t know they need more sleep; but NOW YOU DO. Pleasant dreams to all!