Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Preteen Children May Not Be Getting Enough Sleep

If your child is having problems in school, especially behavior or attention problems, one thing you should ask yourself is if your child is getting enough sleep.  In a study published by the American Psychological Association, children in the sixth-grade may have increased difficulty learning and suffer from behavioral and emotional problems because they may be chronically sleep deprived. Results show that second graders go to sleep more than one hour earlier than sixth graders and that the older children reported increased morning drowsiness compared with the younger children.  According to sleep specialist Stanley Coren, sleep deprivation can also lead to temporary loss in IQ levels, reasoning and memory, and even makes children hyperactive. 
Part of the reason for the older children delaying sleep may be due to physiological and hormonal changes, but changes in their social lives may also be involved. For example, school or homework demands, a more active nightlife and the lure of late-evening or late-night television and internet activity may be keeping them up. 
According to the authors, however, the best predictors of sleep quality were the parent’s education and stress.  Increased stress and the anxiety associated with it are likely to activate an alarm response that triggers alertness. 
Children today live by their parents’ schedule, meaning they are getting to bed late, rising early and averaging about eight hours of sleep a night.  Eight hours may be enough sleep for adults, but it is not enough sleep for kids. 
Study Suggests Older, Preteen Children May Not be Getting Enough Sleep to Meet Their Daily Physical and Mental Needs.  American Psychological Association.
“Sleep Patterns and Sleep Disruptions in School-Age Children,” Avi Sahed, Amiram Raviv and Reut Gruber; Developmental Psychology, Vol. 36, No. 3

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