2019 Mar 13: Effective Sleep Habits

Yawning as I am writing this intro.....Sometimes we as adults find it difficult to get enough sleep during the week or even on weekends. In my youth, I wanted to stay up until midnight and sleep until noon if allowed, but of course that never happened. In the last 20 years, I’m doing good if I make it to 7am no matter what time I went to bed! This week Ms. Alesha Eoff, RES Principal has some valuable information regarding sleep habits for our younger students, and how it impacts learning.

Ask any elementary teacher around, and they will tell you how important that it is for child to get a good night’s sleep.  Unfortunately, a lot of our students come to school without a proper night’s sleep. When researching what is the recommended amount, the following was found:  

Preschool Students (3-5 years) are recommended to have 10 to 13 hours of sleep a night.

Elementary Grade Level Students (6-13 years) are recommend to have 9 to 11 hours of sleep.  

Babies, Children, and pre-teens need significantly more sleep than adults to support their rapid brain and physical development.  Children, unlike adults, don’t necessarily slow down when they get insufficient sleep. Often, they wind up and improper sleep can look very similar to hyperactivity.  This can make evenings difficult for parents, or can make the morning routines difficult and it can carry over into the school setting. Most parents feel that sleep directly affects mood, but research has found that lack of sleep has a big impact on learning and behavior.  In addition, pediatric researchers state that sleep is essential for good health and may lower the risk of becoming overweight and developing diabetes as well as other learning problems and attention issues.  Researchers have found that sleep allows the brain to flush out disease-causing toxins and some believe that it is as important as proper nutrition and exercise for the overall health and well-being of the child.  

There are ways that you can set the stage for a good night’s sleep for your child.  Most children should aim to have a bedtime around 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Providing a consistent bedtime and wind down routine such as taking a warm bath, brushing teeth, reading a book with a family member, or simply talking about the day will help to calm the child and prepare them for sleep.  Ideally, the wind down time should be without electronics or screen time from tablets, phones, gaming systems, or TV. Research also suggests that as little as two hours of light generated by tablets and computers before bedtime can reduce melatonin, a chemical that occurs naturally at night that signals the body to sleep, by twenty –two percent.  Often we are busy with after school activities, work, practice schedules, or other things that get in the way of a maintaining a consistent early bedtime, but it is key to helping your child develop good sleeping habits. Setting a solid nightly routine is especially helpful for preschoolers, who are transitioning away from naps. They are often especially tired, and a good night’s sleep helps them at home and at school.  If your child is dozing off in the car, on the bus, or on the couch while watching tv, it is likely they are not resting enough at night. Try to purposefully develop a consistent, early bedtime to help set your child off on the path to success. Their brains, bodies, and teachers will thank you for it!