When it comes to children, there are few things as important to their mental and physical health as getting enough sleep. If youth don’t get the recommended 9 to 10 hours of sleep a night, they run the risk of developing serious problems like attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity and defiant behavior that will negatively affect their social maturation. In the short-term, sleep deprivation (or sleep disorders) can cause otherwise highly performing children to get poor grades in school. However, there are steps parents can take to make sure their children are getting enough sleep.
Place Limits on Cramming and Afterschool Activities
As children progress through academia, they will be given homework assignment and tests of increasing complexity. In order to meet these more rigorous academic demands, kids will have to spend more time studying, sometimes well into the night, in anticipation of a particularly important test, such as a final exam or standardized aptitude test. Additionally, as they grow older, children will also begin to take an interest in afterschool activities such as team sports, music and part-time employment. While the desire to participate in such activities is natural, they should not cut into necessary sleep time. If you notice that your child’s extracurricular interests and cram sessions are causing them to lose sleep, you should step in and help them create a schedule that will allow them to succeed, academically and socially, without neglecting their need for rest.
Curb Their Caffeine Consumption
One of the most common reasons why children don’t get amount of the sleep they need is because of their dietary choices. For example, although sodas and energy drinks are very popular among young people, those beverages can have a negative effect on a young ones sleep cycle. This negative effect is due to the fact that it takes the human body up to six hours to metabolize caffeine. So, if your child drinks a bottle of Coke at 6 p.m., it, most likely, will still be working its way through their system at midnight, impairing their ability to fall asleep. Therefore, it is a good idea to limit your child’s consumption of food and beverage that contain caffeine, in the evening.
Restrict Their TV and Computer Use
While social media has become increasingly popular in recent years among America’s young people, researchers have found that those platforms can be detrimental to these users’ sleep. A 2015 study found that the use of social media is a leading cause of sleep loss among U.S. teens, as it tends to foster a sense of stressful competition between users. Checking in on Facebook or Twitter may seem innocuous, however, doing so near bedtime may cause your child to become so stressed out, they will have a difficult time falling or staying asleep at night. Similarly, watching television in bed has been found make it more difficult for people to fall asleep, so a TV curfew is also a good idea.
If you’re concerned that your child’s sleeping habits are affecting their grades, contact us today to set up an appointment. Not only can Dr. Shukla determine the cause of your child’s sleep problem, but he can prescribe a course of treatment that will help them get back on the right track, as well.