Thursday, January 21, 2016

RtI - Sleep in Children and Adolescents

"Sleep is the power source that keeps your mind alert and calm. Every night and at every nap, sleep recharges the brain's battery. Sleeping well increases brainpower just as weight lifting builds stronger muscles, because sleeping well increases your attention span and allows you to be physically relaxed and mentally alert at the same time. Then you are at your personal best."  - Marc Weissbluth, MD

According to WebMD, healthy sleep includes: a healthy amount of sleep, uninterrupted sleep, the proper number of age-appropriate naps, and a good sleep schedule. Getting enough sleep allows children to have the optimal amount of alertness to function in their daily lives. They are able to learn and engage both mentally and socially with their environment the best when they are well-rested. The following are sleep tips and guidelines to ensure that your child gets the appropriate amount of sleep.

Preschoolers (Ages 3- 5 years)
Preschoolers need approximately 11 - 13 hours of sleep according to the National Sleep Foundations. At this age, children might not need a daily nap, though continue to benefit from quiet time in the afternoon. Quiet time can last about 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on the child and consists of time alone (no parents or electronics) where the child is engaged in an activity that is not too stimulating. Example activities that parents can provide children during quiet time include books, puzzles, music, coloring books, and legos. Providing quiet time to young children helps with their mood and sleep.

Sleep tips:
  • Create a consistent sleep schedule
  • Provide your child at least a 30 minute warning before their bedtime routine starts
  • Create a quiet time for the child if they are no longer napping
  • Ensure a relaxing bedtime routine that ends in the child’s bedroom
  • Sleep in the same room each night without a TV inside of it

School-Age (Ages 6 - 13 years)
School-age children need approximately 9 - 11 hours of sleep according to the National Sleep Foundation. At this age, children begin to engage in activities that can disrupt sleep schedules. For example, children begin to have an increase in homework, after school activities, use media and gaming platforms on smartphones and computers, watch TV, and consume caffeine.

It is common to see sleep problems and disorders at this age. Poor sleep can lead to problems with attention and learning, mood swings, and an increase in irritability.

Sleep tips:
  • Teach children about healthy sleep habits
  • Continue to keep a consistent sleep schedule and routine
  • Provide your child at least a 30 minute warning before their bedtime routine starts
  • Leave enough technology-free time before bed (about an hour)
  • Create a good sleep environment - dark, quiet, and cool
  • Keep TV, computers, and other electronics out of the bedroom
  • Avoid consuming caffeinated drinks

Teenagers (Ages 13 - 18 years)
Teenagers need about 9 hours of sleep. Similar to school-age children, teenages often do not get the recommended hours of sleep because of after-school activities, social activities, media and video game consumption, and homework. To make matters worse, teenager bodies want to stay up later and wake up later, making it difficult for them to fall asleep at a reasonable time.

An hour less of sleep per night can add up quickly resulting in sleep deprivation.  Sleep deprivation can result in the same problems as they do in school-age children including: problems with attention, memory, and learning, mood swings, and delayed response time.

Sleep tips:
  • Teach children about healthy sleep habits
  • Continue to keep a consistent sleep schedule and routine
  • Provide your child at least a 30 minute warning before their bedtime routine starts
  • Leave enough technology-free time before bed (about an hour)
  • Create a good sleep environment - dark, quiet, and cool
  • Keep TV, computers, and other electronics out of the bedroom
  • Avoid consuming caffeinated drinks


Sources:
http://www.webmd.com/children/features/good-sound-sleep-for-children