Does Your Child Have Sleep Deprivation?

On average, most children don't get enough sleep. Here are some tips to help promote better sleep habits

Credit: Flickr / Vernon Swanepoel

Most children don’t get enough sleep

A good night’s sleep is essential to a child’s growth, development and overall health. Put an end to sleep deprivation

Sleep promotes alertness, concentration, memory and the ability to solve problems. It also plays a vital role in promoting physical health and supporting the immune system, helping young bodies to grow, develop and heal injuries.

Children who do not get enough sleep may experience difficulty concentrating, learning and creating, and may exhibit moodiness and behaviour problems. Overtired children can become sluggish or wired and can also be more vulnerable to sickness and injury.

Does Your Child Need More Sleep?

If you can answer “yes” to any of the following questions, you may have a child who needs more sleep:

  • Is it a battle to wake up your child in the morning?
  • Is your youngster cranky and irritable during the day?
  • Does your child have trouble falling asleep at night?
  • Are school marks slipping?

How to Help Your Children Get More Sleep

Ensuring your child gets a good night’s sleep begins with establishing a bedtime routine that is conducive to relaxation. This practice can be started at a very young age and adjusted as the child gets older.

First, decide on a time for bed and try to stick to it. Develop and allow ample time for a bedtime ritual – children thrive on routine and consistency.

A healthy bedtime routine could include a light snack, followed by a warm bath, putting on pajamas and brushing teeth. A story enjoyed in the quiet of a child’s bedroom is a great way to wind down the evening.

For older children, discourage watching TV or computer or video games before bed and try to avoid having important discussions at this time. Instead, encourage them to read or listen to music to unwind until they’re ready to fall asleep.

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.