How Do You Explain This Behavior?
Is your child not paying attention in school, becoming unruly or performing poorly in his or her classwork? Behavioral problems, crankiness and hyperactivity can sometimes be attributed to poor sleep habits.
"Adults are not the only ones who suffer from a poor night's sleep," says Dawn Stanley, MD, medical director of the Sky Ridge Medical Center Sleep Disorders Center. "In fact, more children are experiencing sleep issues than ever before."
As adults, we know the impact that lack of sleep has on us and how it contributes to overall health-related illness. "When children sleep poorly, it often presents as hyperactivity, poor school performance and behavior issues," says Dr. Stanley.
Healthy Sleep Habits - Tips for Your Children
The Sky Ridge Sleep Disorders Center treats children ages 8 to 18, as well as adults. Dr. Stanley offers these tips to help establish healthy sleep habits for your children:
- Develop a realistic attitude. Sleeping, like eating, is not a state you can force. The best you can do is to create a sleep friendly environment and try, try and try again.
- Establish consistent bedtime rituals. For example, brush teeth, put on pajamas, read, listen to quiet music or do other quiet activities. After you have given your undivided attention for at least 20 to 30 minutes, stick to the allotted bedtime. Children function best when they have a routine and a sense of order.
- Make sure kids fall asleep on their own, in their own beds.
- Put them to sleep in a dark, quiet and cool room. Low lights and fans or other soft white noise can be helpful. Around 68 to 70 degrees is preferable.
- Have a regular wake-up time — even on the weekends.
- Avoid large amounts of liquid before bedtime. A light snack is OK.
- Set predictable and consistent nap routines; good nappers tend to be good sleepers.
"The key is to know when to seek help," notes Dr. Stanley. "Snoring is NOT normal in children. If your child is snoring or exhibits behavioral problems such as daytime sleepiness or hyperactivity, you should talk to your doctor to possibly schedule a sleep study."
Is Your Child Counting Sheep?
The Sky Ridge Sleep Disorders Center treats children ages 8 to 18 as well as adults. For a referral or appointment request, call (720) 225-5362.