By our Smarty friends at Signature Pediatrics
Did you know that driving a car when sleep deprived is as dangerous as drunk driving? The effect of being awake for 24 hours and then driving is equivalent to having a blood alcohol level of 0.10! That’s worse than drunk driving which has a cutoff of 0.08!
What has that got to do with kids? We all know how lousy it feels to be sleep deprived, but few of us realize how much our thinking and reaction time has suffered from sleep deprivation. Inadequate sleep really and truly has a detrimental effect on brain function. And as true as that is for adults, it has an even greater effect on the developing brains of children.
New guidelines for sleep in childhood have come out from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the American Academy of Pediatrics:
Age & Recommended Hours of Sleep per 24 Hours
4-12 months – 12-16 hours (including naps)
1-2 years – 11 – 14 hours (including naps)
3-5 years – 10-13 hours (including naps)
6-12 years – 9-12 hours
13-18 years – 8-10 hours
Regularly getting less than the recommended amount of sleep is linked to difficult childhood behaviors and certain pediatric medical problems. These include irritability, difficulty concentrating, obesity, headaches, high blood pressure and depression. In fact, the exact behaviors that can lead to a diagnosis of ADHD are identical to behaviors seen from inadequate sleep.
If your child or family is suffering from inadequate sleep what can you do? There are many changes that can be made to allow for adequate sleep. Some are simple, some will take planning, and some will require dedication. But each step in the right direction improves the health of your whole family and is well worth the effort.
1. Make sleep times part of a regular routine. Having the same waking times, meal times, nap times, play times all help with a smooth bedtime. Develop bedtime routines that are easy, fun, and healthy such as brush teeth, bath, book then bed.
2. Get daily physical exercise. All children should have 60 minutes or more of physical activity daily. Make the activities age appropriate and FUN. 15 minutes of basketball in the driveway and 15 minutes of fast walking with the dog and you’re half way done with the requirement for a middle schooler. 20 minutes at the playground and 10 minutes of running through the sprinkler in your own back yard and you’re half way there with your toddler. Get creative!
3. Monitor screen time. It is important to turn off all screens at least 60 minutes prior to bedtime. The light emitted from electronic screens disrupts the body’s natural melatonin production. Keeping computers, laptops, tablets and phones out of children’s bedrooms also prevents sleep disruption – we know that teens cannot resist the lure of electronics in their bedroom even if it is supposed to be “lights out”.
4. Recognize sleep problems. Some children have true sleep disorders. These include but are not limited to sleep apnea and snoring. If you are worried about how your child sleeps, see your doctor.
5. Avoid overscheduling. As children get older they have increased amounts of homework and may be involved in afterschool sports, clubs, music, lessons and other activities. Make sure there is time in their day to winddown and complete all that is required of them before bedtime.
You can also take a peek at this link for tips on creating a healthy sleep environment.
Why Concierge Pediatrics?
Concierge pediatrics is a better approach to health care because the focus is on the patient. Our goal is to allow you to meet with your pediatrician in a pleasant, relaxed and unhurried environment. This provides plenty of time to ask all of your questions and discuss your child’s specific needs. We want you to feel like family so we treat you like family.
With Signature Pediatrics you will always be able to bring in a sick child to be seen on the same day and can schedule most other appointments on the same day or within 24 hours. Wait times have been greatly reduced or eliminated and you will experience little or no time in the waiting room. Even more importantly, once you’re with the doctor, there’s no rush. We will take the time to truly understand your child’s unique needs and offer the most thorough care and follow-up possible.
Please contact us today and learn how Signature Pediatrics can mean the difference between your child living and living well.
6115 Park South Dr. • Suite 105
Charlotte, NC 28210