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  • 3 Reasons to Get Those Kids Sleeping

    reasons to help kids get sleepWe all know kids need to get plenty of sleep. Sleep is crucial to helping kids develop both physically and mentally, which is why they will spend approximately 40 percent of their childhood sleeping.

    I always advise that children have an early bedtime that parents stick to no matter what…unfortunately, that means leaving summertime beach parties before the bonfire starts up, or putting the kids to bed even though Grandma and Grandpa want to spend time with them after Christmas dinner. Sometimes it can be hard and parents have to stand their ground. But in the end you have a well-rested child and far less nighttime tantrums. Kids who get to stay up late with their family and crash when their parents do are far more likely to be cranky and miserable the next day.

    If you need a little more incentive for making sure your child is getting a good night’s sleep, here are my top-3 reasons to make good sleep habits a priority in your family:

    1. For your child’s health

    There are no two ways about it: experts all agree that sleep is vital to good health. Children who don’t get enough sleep are prone to a long list of potential negative side effects. Here are just a few:

    Obesity

    There have been many studies linking childhood obesity with lack of sleep. A recent study from the International Journal of Obesity looked at 422 children between the ages of 5 and 10. Researchers measured and weighed the children and asked their parents about their sleeping habits. They discovered that 20 percent of the boys and 24 percent of the girls studied were overweight or obese, and the  children who slept less than 10 hours a night were 3 1/2 times more likely to be overweight than those who slept 12 hours or more.

    Researchers still aren’t certain exactly why less sleep equals potential weight gain, but there are a few practical possibilities. The more tired you are, the less active you are, so a sleepy child is far more likely to sit in front of the TV with a bowl of potato chip than to run around and play tag with the neighbours. There is also some evidence that lack of sleep can trigger a hormonal response that makes you feel hungrier.

    ADHD

    While lack of sleep may not directly cause ADHD, a lot of the symptoms of ADHD are mimicked by kids who are not sleeping enough, such as irritability, hyperactivity, difficulty concentrating and impulsive behaviour.

    But according to the National Sleep Foundation, for kids who do have ADHD, too little sleep may significantly impact their ADHD symptoms. One study found that treating sleep problems could even be enough to eliminate attention and hyperactivity issues for some children.

    School Performance

    It seems to only make sense that kids who aren’t getting enough rest will be groggy and have trouble concentrating in school. But the research on academic performance is pretty shocking. One study showed that kids with C's, D's and F's got about 25 fewer minutes of sleep and went to bed an average of 40 minutes later than A and B students. Kids who aren’t sleeping enough just will not have the ability to focus on, or even care about, their school work.

    2. For your health

    Let’s face it, if your child isn’t getting enough sleep then you probably aren’t either. Babies and young children who consistently wake up throughout the night or go to bed late will be keeping their parents up as well. When your child goes down at 7 p.m. you will have a couple of kid-free hours to yourself to restore and revive and then you’ll still have plenty pf time to get lots of rest yourself. It’s so important for parents to take good care of themselves so they can take care of their children without feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.

    3. For the health of the family

    Families who get enough sleep often claim to be more fulfilled. Being tired causes grumpiness, irritability and impatience, so families who aren’t sleeping well will be less likely to have fun together and be active when they’re battling fatigue.

    Teaching your children to take care of themselves by getting enough sleep is one of the biggest gifts you can give them, and it starts with your family habits. Sleeping well as a child will set them up for being a well-adjusted adult with less likelihood for issues like insomnia when they’re older.

    Sleep Sense Founder Dana OblemanGuest Blog by Dana Obleman, Creator of The Sleep Sense Program

    Dana launched her successful private practice in 2003, and since then has helped over 30,000 of parents solve their children’s sleep problems. She is the creator of “The Sleep Sense Program,” a best-selling do-it-yourself guide for sleep deprived parents. Dana has made numerous television appearances, has been featured in national and local newspapers, spoken at multiple parenting trade shows and baby conventions. She was also invited to lecture on solving infant and toddler sleep problems to Family Physicians, through the University of British Columbia. In addition, to a BA in Psychology, Dana also holds a degree in Elementary Education from King’s University (1999), and is a professional member of the National Sleep Foundation.

    Interested in writing a guest blog for Swanling? Send your topic idea to pr@swanling.com.

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