According to research done in the mid 1990’s on sleep, while your body powers down your brain powers up. It reorganizes and “implants” what you learned during the day. Your body needs sleep for survival and for learning. Yet typical lifestyles of families and children are detrimental to good sleep.
So how much sleep is enough?
Infants should get 14-15 hours
Toddles should get 12-14 hours
Preschoolers should get 11-13 hours
School-aged children grades 1-5 should get 10-11 hours
A survey conducted in 2004 showed the averages for all ages coming up short on needed sleep.
So, how can we help our children get enough sleep? The top 4 sleep stealers in children are: TV, caffeine, too many activities and obesity.
Shockingly one survey showed that 43% of school-aged children (grades 1-5) have a television set in their bedroom. OK, get a grip here! Get the TV out of the bedroom. Secondly, limit the time spent on TV. No rule about the amount of TV usually means no restraint.
Caffeine is well documented to cause sleep problems in children. Sports drinks containing caffeine are now challenging the usual culprit – soda. Unfortunately, many parents do not understand the clear consequences of caffeine one of which is loss of sleep.
Today’s family is typically involved in a smorgasbord of activities. Often these activities do not allow for any “down” time. While the parents think they are offering their child loads of outlets for fun and enjoyment their child often ends up fatigued and tired. Oddly enough being overly tired is not good for sleep! Plus evening activities interrupt sleep patterns. Parents should have a plan of action on how many activities they will allow as well as what time slots any activities are allowed to fill.
Finally the fourth sleep stealer is obesity. Who would have thought that what we feed our children will cause difficulties in sleep? Teaching and training our children to eat right is important for immediate learning as well as long term learning.
Proverbs 3:24 “If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.”
May God’s grace and peace be with you,
Mark Strohm, Jr.