Kids and Sleep: How Much Is Enough?
What happens when your kid doesn’t get enough sleep? Does he turn into Oscar the Grouch? Not a surprise, really. But moodiness isn’t the only downside of a lack of shuteye.
Sleep is critical for mental and physical development. In fact, a lack of sleep can lead to serious health problems such as high blood pressure, injuries, diabetes, and obesity in kids, as well as depression in teens (and adults).1,2
Sleep guidelines for kids. About a year ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics came out with new sleep guidelines for kids. In case you missed it, here’s what they now recommend:
- Infants 4 to 12 months: 12 to 16 hours (including naps)
- Kids 1 to 2 years: 11 to 14 hours (including naps)
- Kids 3 to 5 years: 10 to 13 hours (including naps)
- Kids 6 to 12 years: 9 to 12 hours
- Teens: 8 to 10 hours1
Guidelines are more challenging to devise for infants younger than four months. That’s because there is so much variation among young infants as they begin to develop regular sleep-wake cycles. 1,2
Signs of sleeplessness. How can you tell if your child isn’t getting enough sleep? Here are some telltale signs. Your child may:
- Have trouble waking up and getting moving within 15 minutes.
- Sleep at least two hours longer during weekends or vacations than during the school week.
- Fall asleep during short car trips or at school.
- Have trouble remembering, paying attention, and learning.
- Be irritable or hyperactive.1,3
About that hyperactivity—that’s counterintuitive and can really throw parents. When you’re tired, you probably slow down. But kids can really wind up when they haven’t gotten enough sleep, and will resist going bedtime, even if they’re bone-tired. This sign can look a lot like attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder.4
What you can do. Yes, I know: Getting kids to bed at night is easier said than done. But it’s worth the effort, because quality sleep is not a luxury. You can make a difference in a number of ways.
For example, help your child learn how to prioritize and focus on the activities he or she really enjoys—maybe not three sports all at the same time! Limit your child’s access to caffeine—remember it’s in chocolate, too. Make sure the bedroom is cool and dark. Set a regular, relaxing nighttime routine. Most important, keep TV and computers out of the bedroom, and turn off all screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Whether it comes from a bulb or a smartphone, light promotes wakefulness.1,2
If your child isn’t getting enough sleep, it’s also important to rule out a sleep disorder or other medical condition. Snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea in kids, not just in adults.4 I’d be glad to talk over your concerns or maybe its time to make an appointment with the pediatrician.
Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.
- CBSNews: “New sleep guidelines for babies, kids and teens.” Available at: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/new-sleep-guidelines-for-babies-kids-and-teens/ Accessed: 7-1-17.
- National Sleep Foundation: “Children and Sleep.” Available at: https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/children-and-sleep Accessed 7-1-17.
- HealthDay: “Health Tip: Is Your Child Sleeping Enough?” Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_164509.html Accessed 7-1-17.
- National Sleep Foundation: “How Much Sleep Do Babies and Kids Need?” Available at: https://sleepfoundation.org/excessivesleepiness/content/how-much-sleep-do-babies-and-kids-need Accessed 7-1-17.
“Why can’t I lose weight?” is a question that many of us have asked ourselves. However, effective weight loss means dealing with several variables.
- Poor diet: Most of us eat ethnically or habitually, or follow the recommendations of the processed food and fast food industry who encourage us to eat much more than we need to and more poorly than we should. This also extends to the oversized food portions being served in the more popular restaurants.
- Lack of exercise: The purpose of food is to provide us with the energy that we require for activitiy. If we consume more calories per day than what we expend in activity, we store the excess calories as fat. As we increase exercise, we decrease fat.
- Lack of accountability: Successful weight loss is best accomplished by being accountable to someone
- Failure to commit: Successful, healthy weight loss can require a commitment of six months to two years, with a LIFETIME commitment to a new healthy lifestyle to keep it off.
- Psychological make-up: Food as a reward mechanism is common in American culture.
- Genetic make-up: Research has found that some individuals possess a genetic profile which makes it difficult for them to lose weight. However, genes only indicate predisposition; they do not mandate outcome.
- Hormones: There are a number of hormones that can come into play in weight loss, including thyroid hormones, adrenal hormones and dopamine. Hormones can impact metabolic rate,weight gain and food craving.
What ANY animal is designed to eat for a healthy life is known as its diet. A weight loss plan is not a diet, but a special program designed to encourage consumption of calories that are being stored in the body as fat. A weight management diet is used to retrain and recondition the body so that weight does not return. Popular weight management diets are the Mediterranean Diet, the Elimination Diet, the Gluten Free Diet and the Paleolithic Diet. Generally, a weight loss plan is used for 30 days and then followed by 30 days of a weight management diet, with the sequence repeated until the desired weight is lost. For successful weight loss, an individual cannot return to the diet that created the weight gain to begin with.
In designing your personal weight loss plan:
- Correct all variables to insure that you have the ability to undertake a serious weight loss plan.
- Design a nutritionally sound meal replacement weight loss plan.
- Limit the weight loss plan to no longer than 4 weeks. Then, move on to the weight management diet for 3-4 weeks. The weight management diet will support the weight loss that occurs during the weight loss plan. Repeat this cycle until desired weight is lost.
- To insure that your weight loss plan and your weight management diet is nutritionally sound, seek out the advice of a healthcare professional.
Written by: Wellness Works – Monthly Nutritional Practice www.wellnessworks.com
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