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ZZZZZZ!! Is your child getting enough?

Read here to see if your child is getting enough sleep!

Written by Christie Cacioppo, M.A., BCaBA

Sleep…..everyone needs it, not everyone gets enough of it.  Sleep is very important not only for adults but also for children.  I know what you're thinking, "My family doesn't have enough time to ensure that my child (ren) gets the recommended amount of sleep because they are already so busy with activities and school" or "If my child is asleep, that is less time that I can spend with them and they already grow up so fast."  I understand that these things are important.  The next question is:  how much sleep should my child get?  Here are the recommended amounts:

  • Age 1: Almost 14 hours/day including 2.5 hours of nap time
  • Age 3: 12 hours including 1.5 hours of nap time
  • Age 5: 11 hours
  • Age 9: 10 hours
  • Age 14: 9 hours
  • Adolescents: 9 to 9.5 hours/night but most get 7 to 7.5 hours due to social and academic demands

Why is this important?  What many people may not realize is that children's behaviors can be affected when they don't get enough sleep.  Your child can:

  • Become easily aggravated and non-compliant
  • Have difficulty remembering things
  • Lack attention
  • Show a decrease in mood, thinking ability, and motor skills

What can be the cause of sleep problems?  Sometimes it might be as simple as your child is scared of the dark or he/she misses you.  These can be dealt with behaviorally.  However there may be issues that are deeper and cannot and should not be dealt with behaviorally.  There are some medical issues that may actually be the cause of your child to either not be tired or not be able to get good sleep.  Here are a few:

  • PANDAS
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Lyme disease
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Anemia
  • Sensory problems (e.g. needs glasses, poor hearing)
  • Allergies
  • Lack of exercise

I am, by no means, saying that every child has something medically wrong.  What I am saying is that it is a good idea to rule anything out medically before dealing with it behaviorally.  If there is something that can be done medically and it is addressed, sometimes everything else falls into place.  Full medical work-ups (blood work, a physical, etc.) can be done by your family physician to rule out any medical issues.  If you are further interested in this topic, there is a book called Good Night, sweet dreams, I love you, now get into bed and go to sleep! by Patrick Friman and an article in the Pediatric Clinic of North America by Badcock titled "Evaluating sleep and sleep disorders in the pediatric primary care setting".  Sleep Well and Sweet Dreams!!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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