It is good that there is a special week to recognize how important sleep is to a healthy and happy life. But we really need to be aware of this the other 51 weeks in the year, too.
Children’s health, quality of life, and ability to function well in school will be negatively impacted if they do not get their sleep requirements met on a regular basis. Statistics show that children who do not sleep enough are more apt to perform poorly or below their potential at school, to injure themselves, to have trouble controlling their emotions, to make poor decisions, or to simply not feel good or be happy.
Sleep researchers say that it is important to understand that people cannot “get used” to doing with too little sleep. Rather than adjusting, the body simply becomes more and more sleep-deprived. People who do not get enough sleep should begin to look at making whatever changes are necessary to sleeping more rather than trying to adjust to doing without. Sleep is not time wasted – it’s time well spent to maintain good health and quality of life.
An adequate amount of sleep is different for children of different ages. Children in pre-kindergarten through first-or second-grade need about 11 or 12 hours of sleep per night. Those in the upper elementary grades need a good 10 hours per night. Middle school students need at least eight and a half to nine and a half hours per night and high school students need a minimum of eight to nine hours of sleep per night.
Here are some things to keep in mind in helping children form and maintain good sleep behaviors:
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