There aren’t many things as important to the health and well being of a growing child as sleep. If your child isn’t getting enough sleep, it can affect everything from his weight to how he is doing in school. But how do you know he is getting enough? This article will give you five ways to judge whether or not your child is getting the proper amount for him.
If your child is not getting the sleep he needs, he is more prone to illness because the immune system can be compromised. Your child may have trouble in school because if he isn’t getting enough sleep it will be harder to concentrate and absorb information. Long term consequences can range from major health affects to obesity. For these reasons, it’s important for you to be sure your child is sleeping well.
What is “enough” sleep? That varies from child to child. When your child is newborn, they can sleep as much as 18 hours per day. By the time he reaches his teens, experts say he will probably only need 8.5-9.5. But each child is different, so you can’t go purely by numbers. Your child may need more than what the guidelines say, or he may need less. There are more telling ways to find out if your child is getting the right amount of sleep for him.
The first is by seeing how your child acts when he wakes up. Does he seem groggy? Does he go back to sleep so that you need to wake him up again? This is a sign he may not be getting enough sleep.
How is your child sleeping at night? ? Paying attention to your child’s sleep patterns can tell you if he’s getting an adequate amount of shut-eye. Frequent waking at night, frequent night terrors or nightmares can be a sign that your child isn’t sleeping enough. It seems counterintuitive, but makes sense. If you’re overtired, your sleep is more restless. If a younger child wakes much earlier than usual, it’s a sign that their sleep patterns are disrupted, which can mean they’re getting too little sleep.
Is your child moody? We tend to know when our babies are tired. At least with my kids, I could tell by the way they cried. This doesn’t really go away as they get older; it’s just that the moodiness is expressed differently. Signs of moodiness that can mean your child isn’t getting enough sleep can include irritability, hyperactivity, lack of concentration and a tendency to be easily frustrated.
Young children nap during the day. But if your child is old enough to have given up the habit and starts again, it’s a good sign that they are not sleeping enough at night.
Does your child have trouble staying awake during quiet activities? If your child falls asleep riding in the car, watching TV, or in class for example, it may mean they need to be getting more sleep.
If you’ve guessed that your child isn’t getting the proper amount of sleep for him, you can move his bed time back by an hour. Other helpful tips are to control or remove the access to television in his bedroom, try to discourage playing violent video games or movies after dinner, don’t allow caffeinated beverages at dinner, and help younger children establish a bedtime routine. All of these can help your child get to sleep and stay that way.
You may want to see a doctor if your child snores loudly and has pauses in breathing, has Restless Leg Syndrome, or wets the bed. These can be signs of sleep disruptions which will need medical intervention.
The benefits of sleep are astounding, and not getting an adequate amount can have a negative impact on your child’s health and well being. It is important to be sure your child is getting enough sleep. I hope the tips in this article have helped you be sure that he is getting the sleep he needs to be healthy.