Is Your Child Getting Enough Sleep?
Monday, November 16, 2009 9:55 PM

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Sleep issues and sleep deprivation can affect children and adults at every age. But how much sleep do we really need? The National Sleep Foundation says that while the amount of sleep needed can vary from person to person, there are general guidelines, and that many children, teens and adults fall short in getting enough sleep. The following information comes from The National Sleep Foundation (www.sleepfoundation.org).

How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?*

Age

 

Sleep Needs

Preschoolers (3-5 years)

11-13 hours

School-aged Children (5-12 years)

10-11 hours

Teens (11-17 years)

8.5-9.25 hours

Adults

7-9 hours

Older adults

7-9 hours

* Complete chart available at www.sleepfoundation.org

Sleep and School-aged Children (5-12 years)

Children aged five to 12 need 10-11 hours of sleep. At the same time, there is an increasing demand on their time from school (e.g., homework), sports and other extracurricular and social activities. In addition, school-aged children become more interested in TV, computers, the media and Internet as well as caffeine products – all of which can lead to difficulty falling asleep, nightmares and disruptions to their sleep. In particular, watching TV close to bedtime has been associated with bedtime resistance, difficulty falling asleep, anxiety around sleep and sleeping fewer hours.

Sleep problems and disorders are prevalent at this age. Poor or inadequate sleep can lead to mood swings, behavioral problems such as hyperactivity and cognitive problems that impact their ability to learn in school.

Sleep Tips for School-aged Children

  • Teach school-aged children about healthy sleep habits.
  • Continue to emphasize need for regular and consistent sleep schedule and bedtime routine.
  • Make child's bedroom conducive to sleep – dark, cool and quiet.
  • Keep TV and computers out of the bedroom.
  • Avoid caffeine.

More information is available at www.sleepfoundation.org.