It’s “Back to school time”. Time to sharpen pencils, dust off backpacks and buy new school clothes. It’s also time to start getting back to routines, especially sleep routines.
Sleep is something that we all need but most of us don’t get enough of.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following sleep amounts for each age group.
- Infants: 9-12 hours at night plus lots of daytime sleeping.
- Toddlers: 12-14 hours in 24 hours (this includes daytime naps)
- Preschoolers: (3-5 years) 11-13 hours at night
- School-aged children: (5-12 years) 10-11 hours at night
- Teens: 8-10 hours
- Adults: 7-8 hours
Sleep deficit can cause many problems including academic difficulties. Some of these problems can mimic ADHD symptoms—poor attention, not completing assignments, poor test performance. Inadequate sleep can also cause physical symptoms—headaches, nausea, fatigue, abdominal pain, irritability. Behavioral problems, anxiety and depression and be caused or exacerbated by sleep deficit.
Here are a few recommendations to improve sleep:
- Maintain a daily sleep schedule and bedtime routine
- Keep bedrooms cool, dark and quiet
- Have a relaxing bedtime routine that ends in the bedroom.
- No heavy snacks for 2 hours before bed. No caffeine after 4 p.m.
- No electronics in bedroom. This includes, TV’s, video games, cell phones, tablets
- Exercise regularly but not within 2 hours of bedtime
Article written by Sue Gaston, M.D.